Global food corporation Unilever recently invested $94 million in The Hive—a food innovation center in the Netherlands. At the Hive, Unilever plans to work with academic researchers, startups, and other partners to develop new products, including plant-based meat and sustainable food packaging, that CEO Alan Jope hopes will drastically transform the global food system. “We need a fundamental transformation of the food system if we are to feed more than nine billion people sustainably and nutritiously,” Jope said. “Malnutrition, obesity, climate change and food waste are issues that can only be addressed if we work in partnership to accelerate technology and innovation. Having a global research and development center in Wageningen will enable us to do exactly this.” In recent years, Unilever has added a growing number of plant-based products to its portfolio, including vegan ice cream flavors in its Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, Talenti, and Magnum brands. In 2018, Unilever acquired Holland-based company De Vegetarische Slager (“The Vegetarian Butcher”) and will use some portion of its newest investment to grow the vegan meat brand.
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