European farmer-owned co-operative Arla Foods has announced plans to build a new €36 million whey innovation centre in Denmark.

Part of Arla Foods Ingredients, the new centre will be home to leading scientists and innovators who will discover and deliver new ways of using milk and whey to serve the needs of the world’s growing population.

With the €36.3 million investment, Arla is now creating a hub for research and development innovation within whey and milk-based ingredients.

Construction is expected to begin in autumn 2019, and the centre is expected to open in 2021.

Up to 90 people will be employed in the 9,000m² facility complete with open office spaces, labs and a pilot plant.

It follows the opening of the Arla Innovation Centre (AIC) in Skejby, Denmark last year.

Arla Foods chief executive Peder Tuborgh said: “The world’s population is growing, which increases the need for healthy and sustainable food.

"It is a big challenge, and in Arla, we want to be part of the solution. We know that dairy nutrition can play an important role in securing a healthy and balanced diet for people across the world.

With this innovation centre we will use cutting-edge research and technology to explore milk and whey to their full potential as ingredients for a wide range of nutrition.

The investment in the innovation centre, which is expected to open in 2021, was recently approved by Arla Foods’ Board of Directors, supporting the company’s strategic focus on innovation.

The centre will be part of Arla Foods Ingredients (AFI), the Arla subsidiary that has transformed whey from what was once considered a waste product to premium, high-quality ingredients used for infant nutrition, clinical nutrition, sports nutrition, health foods and other foods and beverage products.

'Challenging dairy development projects'

The new centre will be located outside Herning, near to Arla Foods Ingredients’ largest production site, Danmark Protein.

At the centre, scientists, technicians and innovators will cover all aspects of research and development within whey and milk – from advanced separation technologies to isolate specific components of the whey or milk, to heat treatment and pasteurisation technology to improve functionality and shelf life.

At the moment, around 70 scientists, technicians and engineers are already working with innovation at AFI, but according to Henrik Andersen, the new innovation centre will provide even more opportunities.

"This will be an exciting place to work with the most challenging development projects in the dairy industry,” Andersen said.