Tetra Pak and Lund University launch new research hub 

Biotech Heights to develop future food and material innovations

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Tetra Pak and Lund University launch new research hub to develop future food and material innovations.

Tetra Pak and Lund University have announced the launch of Biotech Heights, a new research hub that will explore food and materials production using bioprocessing to create useful products from living cells or cell components.

Biotech Heights will establish an open innovation environment, in which all participating organizations will have access to world leading laboratories and equipment for both commercial and academic purposes. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to work alongside several faculties at the University to address both the technical and non-technical challenges facing producers, brands, and manufacturers operating in this space. 

This, combined with Tetra Pak’s experience supporting food and beverage brands with product development, will make Biotech Heights a space to nurture and test ideas, and collaborate to share knowledge on best practices and consumer trends.

Currently, more than one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to the way we produce, process and package food. With a rapidly growing global population relying on finite arable farmland, innovation in new food sources offers one route to feeding the planet without increasing the pressure on agriculture. Scaling these new food solutions to meet the needs of future generations is far from simple, with many technological hurdles to overcome. The hub is a collaborative space, aiming to bring together unconventional players to build new knowledge and generate scalable solutions.

Charles Brand, executive vice-president for Processing Solutions & Equipment at Tetra Pak, says: “Today’s food systems are not fit for purpose, and collaboration across business and academia is crucial to provide new solutions to food systems transformation.Tetra Pak and Lund University share a common goal of developing technology that contributes towards a more sustainable future, and we look forward to taking our decades-long partnership to the next level. With Biotech Heights, we can provide a safe space for customers and collaboration partners to trial solutions to the multi-faceted challenge of scalability.”

The hub will deepen the longstanding partnership between Tetra Pak and Lund University, combining Tetra Pak’s global food processing and packaging expertise with the research capabilities of Lund University, one of the world’s top 100 universities, enriching the region’s existing reputation as a centre for groundbreaking food innovations.

Annika Olsson, Dean at Lund University Faculty of Engineering, said: “Lund University’s research mission in this area revolves around the exploration and advancement of scalable biotechnology, which we see as a transformative tool to building a more sustainable society. However, none of this is possible without collaborating with key industry partners like Tetra Pak. By bringing together experts from academia and industry with infrastructure from diverse fields, we can foster state-of-the-art advancements and drive positive change on a much larger scale.”

The latest insights from Tetra Pak Index 2023 show that 48% of global consumers believe that technological innovation is crucial to providing healthy food and drink in the future. However, 46% view food innovation as ‘risky’ and fear for the health implications of the same innovations. This dichotomy highlights that the challenge of scaling new food innovations extends beyond technology into consumer acceptance and education. With this in mind, the hub will include cross-disciplinary research within marketing strategies, consumer behaviour, and emerging trends. The work in this field aims to provide market leading understanding of consumer perception and branding, alongside addressing the technical obstacles facing alternative protein producers.

Micael Simonsson, director, Processing Development & Biotechnology at Tetra Pak says: “Tetra Pak is committed to creating healthy and sustainable food products with the help of cutting-edge technology, both by improving and optimising existing processes and investigating new options for food production. We see this partnership with Lund University as one major step to delivering new food innovations that can support this goal. We are also open to additional avenues of research and invite new collaborators to join us in this journey.”

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