Unilever, UK, opened its new global Foods Innovation Centre on the campus of Wageningen University, a global agri-food research hub based in The Netherlands.

The €85m center, named Hive for its location amidst leading academic research centers, start-ups and external partners, will lead global foods innovation programs for brands like Knorr, Hellmann’s, The Vegetarian Butcher and Calvė. Areas of research will include plant-based ingredients and meat alternatives, efficient crops, sustainable food packaging and nutritious foods.

“We need a fundamental transformation of the food system if we are to feed more than 9 billion people sustainably and nutritiously,” says Alan Jope, chief executive officer. “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.”

Unilever’s Hive achieved the highest certification for sustainable buildings—BREEAM-NL Outstanding—for being an energy-neutral building that supplies its own energy. The facility is equipped with an underground, seasonal thermal energy system for long-term energy storage. Distinctive awnings and a skylight with built-in solar cells prevent overheating and minimize energy consumption. The roof is a sea of 1,550 solar panels, and all glass surfaces, blank façades, floors and the roof are highly insulated.