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Roquette Grand Opening of the new Food Innovation Center in Lestrem, France

With an investment of 4.5 million euros, the new Center is a key part of the company’s Research and Development global network.

Lestrem, France – June 8, 2023. Roquette, a global leader in plant-based ingredients, celebrates today the grand opening of its new Food Innovation Center, located in its historic Lestrem site, right in the heart of Europe. The company is a trusted partner to food industry players in addressing major global challenges such as population growth, aging, and demand for new, healthier and more sustainable diets. As part of its strategy, Roquette’s Food Innovation Center will provide formulators with a large range of capabilities, including technical and R&D support, cutting-edge equipment, labs and scale-up testing. The ultimate goal is to foster innovation and accelerate the go-to-market of new products.

According to a survey conducted by Innova in 2023, the largest portion of consumers looks for health benefits when choosing new products. However, consumer food choices involve various other dynamics, such as value for money, taste and indulgence, and sustainability. With diets and food purchasing habits changing at a rapid pace, the food sector needs to adapt quickly and follow a continuous innovation strategy. Roquette supports this transition with its new Food Innovation Center, contributing to the growth of a new gastronomy highlighting new tastes, new textures, and whole new culinary experiences. 

Food Innovation Center, where innovation comes to life

This Food Innovation Center has been designed to support food players by offering a huge range of capabilities, where Roquette experts will provide advice and solutions to their process and formulation challenges. It includes a demonstration kitchen, a sensory analysis laboratory, various collaborative spaces and labs allowing pilot scale testing for different food applications. All food sectors including dairy, savory, confectionery, bakery, beverage, or specialized nutrition, will benefit from these new capabilities.

“We see this opening as an innovation boost for the global food sector. Our group is proud to unveil this amazing new facility and help meet the demand in Europe and all around the world. This new Food Innovation Center will provide our customers with the plant-based ingredients and capabilities they need to overcome challenges in their product development process, enabling them to move forward more quickly and effectively,” said Pascal Leroy, Senior Vice President of Core Ingredients. 

The Food Innovation Center also offers new state-of-the-art equipment such as a high-moisture extrusion (HME), an ultra-high temperature (UHT) line with direct steam injection for dairy and beverage applications, as well as a tableting press simulator. Whether it is from a physical, chemical, rheological or nutritional perspective, the Food Innovation Center’s team can use this new facility, sensory analysis, and a wide range of analytical capacities to help food companies whatever the formulation challenge they face.

For Isabelle Routier, Head of Food Customer Technical Services (CTS), “The ultimate goal of the Food Innovation Center is to partner with food industry players to speed up innovation, from the earliest stage of product development.  To ensure this is possible, the teams can rely upon a worldwide network, as well as in-house expertise, co-development sessions, and technical training. The site was also designed to facilitate knowledge and know-how development, capture and sharing.”

Roquette scientists and technical developers support food formulators in different ways: enhance the nutritional profile while preserving an appetizing taste, increase the sensory experience of food products, test in lab and pilot conditions, or formulate cost-effective and sustainable new products. This new Food Innovation Center is a unique place to develop a more collaborative relationship with customers.

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Key figures

Roquette Lestrem Plant in key figures

  • 150 hectares, astride 2 departments and 3 cities
  • 57 manufacturing workshops
  • 2,800+ employees
  • 2 million+ tons of wheat and corn approximately per year – 4 to 5 trains per day

Lestrem evolved from a potato starch factory in 1933 to Roquette’s biggest manufacturing site in the world. The historic factory still houses several types of activities, including Research & Development, application development, commercial activities and production.

Global Food Customer Technical Services in key figures 

  • 70 dedicated scientists and technical developers, including 30+ in the new Food Innovation Center
  • 6 application centers with pilots in Europe, Asia and the Americas, including the new Food Innovation Center,
  • 5,000+ sqm of applications laboratories and pilots, including 2,500+ sqm for the new Food Innovation Center

Whatever the challenge, from taste and texture, sugar management and plant alternatives to health benefits, formula optimization and protein and fiber enrichment, the Roquette teams work hand-in-hand with food formulators to find the right plant-based ingredients, for all food sectors: 

  • Dairy, with solutions suitable for fresh dairy and non-dairy products including cheese, ice creams, yogurts, creamy desserts, etc. 
  • Savory, with plant proteins, texturizing solution for meat alternatives, soups, sauces, dressings, ready meals and batters and coatings, 
  • Confectionery, with solutions for chewing gums, tablets, mints, jellies, chews, chocolate calorie reduction, sugar-free, etc.
  • Bakery and snacks, with plant ingredients for protein and fiber enrichment, new texture solutions, sugar reduction, etc.
  • Beverages, with solutions for fiber enrichment.
  • Specialized nutrition, with high-quality solutions, for sports, senior and clinical nutrition, weight management, etc.