Construction of Upfield Food Science Centre reaches highest point

Wageningen, 4 November 2021 - The construction of the Upfield Food Science Centre on the Wageningen University campus has reached its highest point. This milestone was celebrated today together with stakeholders of plant-based food producer Upfield, construction companies Van Wijnen and Unica, architects Fokkema & Partners and others. In the centre, new plant-based foods and sustainable packaging materials will be researched and co-developed. The sustainable building with minimal environmental impact is expected to open its doors in the second quarter of 2022.

Speeches and some fries at the boss' expense. Reaching the highest point of the construction of Upfield's new innovation centre was the reason for a festive gathering at the construction site in Wageningen today. Upfield is looking forward to the completion of the project. John Verbakel, chief R&D officer at Upfield: "Upfield aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and to develop 95% of its packaging plastic-free by 2030. Such ambitions require an ambitious research centre. By investing in innovation, we can also continue to meet the demands of consumers, who want the same taste, texture and performance from our products as they are used to from dairy, but in a healthier and more environmentally friendly way. Together with partners, we will explore the many possibilities of plant-based nutrition, so that together we can convince a growing number of consumers of the benefits of a plant-based diet."

The construction of the centre started in October 2020. Harry Dijkstra, director Van Wijnen Arnhem, about the project: "The realization of this project has two major challenges. Firstly, the highest sustainability standards were applied to the design. The new building meets the requirements of BREEAM Outstanding. Secondly, in connection with the available construction time, it was decided to run the engineering phase parallel to the construction. A method that is really only possible by working together very intensively and with trust. Thanks to the constructive and pleasant cooperation with Upfield, all the advisors and our installation partner Unica, the construction work is progressing smoothly and there will soon be an ultramodern facility for food research and innovation here that Upfield and we as the builders can be proud of."

Diederik Fokkema of Fokkema & Partners Architects, adds: "We set out to create the ultimate sustainable building for Upfield, one designed from the inside out and with the user's well-being top of mind. The design links sustainability to comfort with a spatial experience that is in tune with nature. The building design balances between rationality and rhythm on the one hand, with spontaneity and variation on the other."

The Upfield Food Science Centre will be an inspiring centre where talented researchers, scientists and chefs can work on tomorrow's food supply. Upfield staff will move into a creative, cutting-edge and comfortable space. The interior is carefully designed with attention to every detail to ensure energy efficiency with low environmental impact, including climate ceilings for heating in winter and cooling in summer, a tight grid of sensors to adjust the indoor climate based on the presence of people and separate rain and sewage drains to reuse rainwater. The ultra-modern building will be BREEAM outstanding-certified upon completion.