‘Hive, Unilever’s Foods Innovation Centre, is up and running’

4 November 2019 - In 2016, Unilever started the project of building a global Foods Innovation Centre in the midst of the world’s most renowned agri-food ecosystems; the Wageningen Food Valley. All roles in R&D Foods that were based in The Netherlands, Germany and Poland, moved to the new Foods Innovation Centre. Today, Hive lies conspicuously at the heart of the Foods Innovation ecosystem.

Hive up and running
Hive up and running

We set out to construct a building that reflects our sustainable and open innovation strategy. But more importantly, the aim was to build bridges between Unilever, corporates, universities, knowledge institutes and start-ups. By working closer together, we can turn bright ideas into the foods of the future.

Although the finishing touches are still being made to the building exterior, operations started running on the 4th of November 2019. The first weeks were filled with festive opening activities, the first Unilever wide Live Compass event, an open masterclass and a week-long visit by Global R&D Foods & Refreshment directors.

In the middle of this buzzing momentum, we are getting settled in operationally and acclimating to the new surroundings. Luckily, Hive’s functionalities are self-evident thanks to its open design. The grand entrance offers views directly into the pilot plant and the Food & Customer Experience area. In the latter, kitchens are home to daily experimentation with innovative ingredients for the development of new products. Employees, experts, students and consumers can try the new products and share their views here. Next to these areas, a light-filled atrium with a skylight and a wide wooden staircase connects Unilever’s co-creation spaces, offices and laboratories with the public area on the ground floor.

On the 6th of December a Symposium on Foods as Force of Good will delineate the purpose of the building and mark its public opening. During this evening, stakeholders from the foods industry, governmental organizations and NGO’s are welcomed into Hive to discuss how innovation and technology can transform the foods sector towards a healthy and sustainable system. Among speakers are Alan Jope (CEO Unilever), Diane Holdorf (Managing Director Food & Nature of WBCSD), Mette Lykke (CEO Too Good To Go) and Louise Fresco (President Wageningen University & Research). The symposium can be attended by invitation only.

We look forward to future collaborations and innovations in our new locational context and hope to see you at Hive.

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