Global food company Cargill has opened its first innovation centre in Singapore that aims to address nutrition and food safety needs of its customers.

The new centre not only helps its customers in the Asia Pacific region to anticipate market forces and shifting consumer values around tastes, but also connects them to a global network of ten other innovation centres and 2,000 food scientists.

Cargill global starches, sweeteners and texturisers business president Peter Van Deursen said: “Consumers in Asia Pacific want healthy and nutritious food and drinks but do not want to compromise on taste, quality and affordability.

“Our new innovation centre in Singapore will allow us to collaborate more closely with our customers in this region to create and reformulate products that better suit these changing consumer trends.”

The innovation centre in Singapore will employ 20 food scientists by the end of this year.

Currently, Cargill operates two innovation centres in the Asia Pacific region, which are located in Beijing and Shanghai. It chose Singapore for its third centre due to its strategic location and the government’s strong focus on building the country as a global innovation hub.

As part of the opening ceremony, the company held a range of events that included an experiential tour and sampling of products, such as healthier chilli sauces with natural sweeteners, yoghurt drinks with fruit and vegetable extracts,.

Singapore Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Dr Koh Poh Koon said: “In order to stay ahead, businesses will have to develop products that are tailored to the evolving needs and preferences of Asian consumers. Singapore, with its extensive regional connectivity, strong research base and clustering of innovation activities, is well positioned for companies such as Cargill to harness the growth opportunities in Asia.”

In April, Cargill announced plans to expand the capacity of its Songyuan corn processing facility in Jilin province, China, with an investment of $112m.