The Flavor Creation Center, which is part of Bühler’s recently expanded food innovation hub in Uzwil, Switzerland, is now functioning at full speed. The center combines Bühler’s proven expertise in roasting and grinding cocoa and coffee beans and processing malt and nuts to create innovative flavors and future-fit products. With cutting-edge infrastructure and an integrated network of Application & Training Centers, customers can develop new recipes and test new processes under one roof.
The Flavor Creation Center, which has been processing coffee since 2013 and cocoa and nuts since 2022, has been upgraded and refurbished, and is now up and running as part of Bühler’s innovation hub in Uzwil, Switzerland. The opening of four Application & Training Centers (ATCs) – Flavor Creation Center, Food Creation Center, Protein Application Center, and Energy Recovery Center – complementing the existing ATCs, such as the Extrusion Application Center, is a milestone in Bühler’s journey to support customers and partners to create a more sustainable food system.
The center showcases Bühler’s proven expertise in product innovation, technology and process validation, process optimization, and training and education. In partnership with the other Application and Training Centers, customers have the unique opportunity to consider new and different technologies along the value chain to find the best possible solution for their application, from the raw material to the finished product.
Head of Product Management
and MarCom, Chocolate
and Coffee at Bühler.
“The Flavor Creation Center is the perfect place to process cocoa beans to cocoa mass, cocoa powder, and butter; to roast coffee to perfect flavor; and to process nuts to pastes,” says Skeljzen Nesimi, Head of Product Management and MarCom, Chocolate and Coffee at Bühler. The processing, roasting, and grinding of cocoa beans, nuts, and coffee is now combined in one location to create innovative flavors and high-quality products. The technological solutions available for cocoa include cleaning, de-shelling, alkalizing, and roasting (batch and continuous roasting), and result in high-quality cocoa mass, cocoa butter, and cocoa powder.
For coffee processing, customers have access to diverse roasting technologies such as tangential roasters and drum roasters. These solutions support their search for the best flavor profile, processing time, and color. Attuned to healthy food trends, the Flavor Creation Center also offers a new grinding technology, the Pulsar mill, which has been designed to grind nuts and seeds into smooth and tasty pastes.
In fact, product innovation is a fundamental part of the center and different roasting technologies can be applied to assess the influences on flavor, taste, and physical characteristics. “Customers can try new flavor, roasting, or new grinding profiles for their products,” says Skeljzen Nesimi. With a cutting-edge infrastructure available, customers can develop new recipes, try new processes, test different machine settings and configurations, compare different technologies, and analyze the influence of raw materials on finished products.
“We also help our customers in buying processes, so that they can easily find out which type of solution can deliver defined results considering their techniques and processes, and match their flavor expectations and product requirements,” adds Nesimi. “Sustainability and quality are key issues for them; for instance, they want to know whether they can roast a product at a lower temperature or shorter time and improve efficiency, but still get the same quality. We support their buying decision.”
More recently, start-ups and some established producers are rethinking conventional products and experimenting with alternative raw materials, such as barley, carob, oats, to create bean-free chocolate and coffee. Bühler supports these companies not only in finding the right process and equipment, but also in developing recipes. “By combining our know-how and infrastructure with the scientific knowledge of our academia partners, we can support our customers in achieving tangible results, accelerating changes, and designing the future of food,” says Skeljzen Nesimi.
The collaboration with the other Application & Training Centers in Uzwil provides extended finished-product value streams. The Flavor Creation Center collaborates with the Chocolate Application Center to produce chocolate mass from cocoa, and spreads from nut pastes. It works with the Food Creation Center team to produce cereal bars and chocolate bars. At the Energy Recovery Center cocoa shells are used to produce energy. Training and education is another highlight of the application center as up to October 2023 more than 4,000 customers (be it beginners or experienced professionals) had participated in a wide range of training courses about raw materials, setup of equipment, technologies, and services.