A great product may be more than the sum of its parts – but it can certainly not be less. When the time comes to formulate your newest protein offering, available ingredients will help decide what’s possible and what may have to wait.
But what determines which ingredients are in the running? Where do new ingredients come from?
Jennifer Kimmel is a protein chemist with Roquette; she works on new NUTRALYS® protein products. Because Roquette collaborates so closely with its customers, she says, some new ingredients begin specifically as customer requests.
But there’s another path as well.
Here’s the six-part journey new NUTRALYS® ingredients follow, from idea to marketplace.
- The idea. Ideas for new plant protein products, and lots more besides, are usually submitted to the Global Business Unit. At Roquette, a new idea can come from anyone – and everyone’s encouraged to submit.
- The opportunity. New ideas are evaluated, and the ones that seem to fit a need within the marketplace will move ahead. Roquette works closely with its customers, so it’s not unheard of to run ideas by potential buyers early in the process. If a Roquette client has a need, Roquette wants to meet it.
- The team. When an idea becomes an opportunity, it’s time to put a global working team together. A typical team would include experts on applications, regulations, and nutrition in addition to representatives from R&D. The team becomes a startup environment within the larger Roquette community – a place to move fast, collaborate and create in a focused way.
- The stage gate process. Every project needs its own set of stage gates. The first step might be to make a prototype with predetermined attributes that meet the opportunity’s criteria. The second stage might be an application focus: Can we demonstrate the prototype in formulas? A later stage might be to decide how the new ingredient gets manufactured, and what resources or equipment will be required.
- Customer feedback. Once a new ingredient’s beginning to take shape, it’s time to seek more input from the customers who’d ultimately use it in their products. Will this new ingredient meet a need? What would food manufacturers need most? Roquette works closely with its customers, so catering products to the companies who’ll use them is a natural part of the approach.
- Production. If a product makes it this far in development, it’s time to weigh how it will fit into production at Roquette’s processing facilities. Plant protein ingredients are in high demand, which leaves suppliers like Roquette deciding when to put production time toward new products and when to stay focused on their current offerings. Scaling up production at its French facility and adding a whole new facility in Canada have meant Roquette is well-position to provide more protein – and explore more possibilities – than ever.
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