The new center complements GEA’s new food centers of excellence around the world.

Kristen Kazarian, Managing Editor

February 21, 2024

2 Min Read
GEA's new alt protein center
GEA's cell separation facility in Oelde, Germany.Image courtesy of GEA

GEA is investing EUR 18 million (USD 20 million) in a technology center for alternative proteins in Janesville, WI. The new food tech hub will pilot microbial, cell-based and plant-based foods.

GEA's state-of-the-art technologies and a team of biotechnology experts form the basis for scaling new food for industrial production, which is increasingly in demand in the US.

“A number of new food pioneers in the USA are already writing innovation history. When it comes to industrial production, the market is still on the starting blocks. GEA’s new food center bridges a gap in the innovation landscape, driving forward the development of complementary proteins through technology,” said Reimar Gutte, senior vice president, Liquid and Fermentation Technologies, leading New Food at GEA.

GEA’s new food technology center in Janesville will be home to an end-to-end process line, including GEA’s multifunctional fermenters or bioreactors together with high-shear mixing, sterilization, homogenization, cell separation, and filtration equipment. The system can freely alter the sequence of the various steps and add or repeat process stages to test cultivation and fermentation strategies along with product synthesis. At the ATC, GEA helps the industry accelerate process development for a wide range of new food applications.

The innovation center complements GEA’s new food centers of excellence: the full pilot line in Hildesheim (Germany) and the technology center for bioreactors (Skanderborg, Denmark), cell separation (Oelde, Germany), and plant-based foods (Bakel, Netherlands).

Beyond testing and validating processes, GEA also intends to promote the training of biotechnology specialists in the 10,000 square-meter building. Attached to the GEA site for homogenizers, separators, pumps, and valves, which opened in December 2023, the new food experts will enhance knowledge sharing with other disciplines.

“Most new food companies are located in North America and the bulk of the investments in alternative proteins flow into this region. Consequently, there is an urgent need for scaling facilities like ours,” said Arpad Csay, GEA’s North American new food business lead. “The GEA platform in Janesville will enable manufacturers to conduct their scaling and testing work without the need to invest in their own capital-intensive infrastructure. In this way, we will help overcome scaling challenges and accelerate the industry’s growth.”

This project marks GEA’s second investment in a new food hub, which fast-tracks innovations from the lab to commercial-scale manufacturing. Prior to this, GEA inaugurated its technology center focusing on cell cultivation and fermentation in Hildesheim, Germany, in June 2023.

New food is one of the growth drivers in GEA's Mission 26 strategy. One dedicated business line is working on technologies and full production lines for microbial proteins or proteins cultivated in bioreactors, plant- or fungi-based foods, as well as innovative hybrids combining plant-based products with proteins produced using biotechnology.

Groundbreaking at the new GEA campus is scheduled for spring 2024, with the opening in 2025.

About the Author(s)

Kristen Kazarian

Managing Editor

Kristen Kazarian has been a writer and editor for more than three decades. She has worked at several consumer magazines and B2B publications in the fields of food and beverage, packaging, processing, women's interest, local news, health and nutrition, fashion and beauty, automotive, and computers.

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