Cargill talks the trends and tech driving R&D: ‘There’s an explosion of innovation’


By Katy Askew, food Navigator



From advances in fermentation capabilities to developments in our understanding of diet and health or the rapid evolution in digital technologies, Cargill’s R&D chief Florian Schattenmann talks FoodNavigator through the trends and tech he believes will shape innovation in the food industry…


Four ‘fundamental’ drivers of change


Schattenmann believes that four ‘fundamental drivers’ have sparked this game-changing level of innovation in the food sector, creating the ‘perfect storm’ for an industry ripe for disruption...


Backing the winners


High levels of capital coming into the sector are certainly supporting elevated levels of innovation. But, at some point, there will be technological winners and losers. The VHSs and Betamaxs of the world. So, how does Cargill’s R&D department ensure it is backing the right horses?


The ingredient giant is changing its ‘view of how to participate’ in response to this challenge, Schattenmann responded...


The protein balance


When it comes to these strategic plays, or irons in the fire, Cargill starts by ‘looking inward’ at what it is good at – and what it isn’t so good at. Schattenmann identified Cargill’s strengths as its ‘incredible global tentacled supply chain’ as well as ‘strong capabilities’ in areas like fermentation.


He believes that developments here will be vital to meeting future global demand for high-quality proteins, where a 70% increase in demand is expected over the next 30 years without a corresponding rise in the amount of farmland that can be given over to animal production. As one of the world’s largest suppliers of animal protein, this is an important topic for Cargill – and one that the company can leverage its reach and scale to help address.


The group’s businesses stretch from animal nutrition through to distribution in foodservice and retail. “We have the formulation capability. We have the processing capability. We have the supply chain to get to the food service and retail. We have all the elements around that chain. We have technology relevant technology competency. We just have to pull it together and invest smartly along that chain.”​


Cargill is also working to develop its reach in the plant-based sector, which is witnessing high growth from a smaller base than animal protein...