WEBSTER GROVES, MO. — An intersection of phosphates and proteins in product development exists at 373 Marshall Ave. in Webster Groves. ICL Food Specialties on March 23 held a tour of its expanded research and development center at that address.
“We’ve opened similar facilities in Europe, Mexico and Brazil and are thrilled to now offer our North American customers a creative center where they can collaborate and develop product concepts that meet consumer trends, from ideation to commercialization,” said Nancy Stachiw, director, applications development, ICL Food Specialties.
ICL Food Specialties is part of ICL, which has 75 years of experience in the food ingredients business, said Stefan Borgas, president and chief executive officer of ICL. ICL Food Specialties has been known for phosphates, but last year the company acquired Prolactal, GmbH, Hartberg, Austria, and Rovita GmbH, its subsidiary in Engelsberg, Germany. Prolactal produced dairy proteins and other ingredients for the food and beverage industries.
“Our foundation is phosphates, and that foundation, whether you realize it or not, has touched proteins directly and indirectly,” said Beth Warren, commercial lead, Americas, and global director, market branding for ICL Food Specialties.
The expanded facility in Webster Groves will allow ICL Food Specialties to explore synergies between phosphates and proteins in the product categories of meat, bakery, dairy and beverages. For example, ICL Food Specialties sees angel food cake as one area where phosphates and proteins may work together. The company has examined how 11 different proteins may work with phosphates in that product. Egg white replacement of 50% in angel food cake is possible.
More than 50 food and beverage industry professionals attended the March 23 tour. The expansion doubled the size of the applications center to 30,000 square feet. The center includes a culinary test kitchen and performance technology with video tools that allow ICL Food Specialties personnel to host virtual ideation sessions and live, instructional webinars.
“One of our caveats, one of our success factors with this $9 million investment is how much you, our customers, are going to use it,” Mr. Borgas said. “It’s no good if we spend our time by ourselves in this lab. Come here for a day, or a week, or a month to develop products with us. A month, I mean that.”
Mr. Borgas attended the event in Webster Groves as did Nir Gilad, chairman of ICL, and Gerry Welch, the mayor of Webster Groves.ICL, a specialty minerals and specialty chemicals company based in Tel Aviv, Israel, recorded sales of $5,405 million in the 2015 fiscal year. Food Specialties accounted for sales of $614 million, which was up 17% from $525 million in 2014. Mr. Borgas said the food specialties business is the fastest-growing business within ICL.