Chr. Hansen Natural Colours inaugurates new R&D centre in Montpellier

The new facilities in Montpellier are part of a long-term investment strategy to focus on innovative and natural solutions that enable manufacturers to meet consumers’ growing awareness and demand for natural and easy-to-understand ingredients.


As the demand for natural colours continues to grow globally, Chr. Hansen Natural Colours has planned to expand and renovate its R&D facilities in Montpellier, France, to strengthen its possibilities to develop innovative and natural solutions in collaboration with its customers. Furthermore, Chr. Hansen Natural Colours is expected to be acquired by EQT, a global investment organisation, next year.

Luc Ganivet, vice-president, head of innovation and application, Chr. Hansen Natural Colours, said: “We are ramping up our R&D capabilities in pigment, formulation and application expertise. Also, we are accelerating our breeding programmes and new technologies to secure sustainable and high-quality natural sources.

“More stable formulations and even new colours like blue and green will now be within our reach. This new centre will be a magnet to the talents in the industry, and will help us to remain a leading force. Montpellier lies in the heart of an exciting food science hub, with several universities and institutions renowned for their profound scientific expertise.”

Chr. Hansen Natural Colours will be better equipped to use its technical expertise and innovation to meet the challenges of conversion and cost optimisation. Over the past five years, five to 10 new products have seen the light of day annually as well as a “steady stream” of customisation projects for which Chr. Hansen Natural Colours is known in the industry. Innovations, such as the minimally processed red Hansen sweet potato that won the European FI Innovation Award for Natural and Clean Label, and the American IFT Innovation last year, will continue to evolve from the expertise centre in Montpellier.

Klaus Bjerrum, executive vice-president, added: “With the R&D centre, we are cementing our leading position and will be even better equipped to develop differentiated technical solutions that meet the challenges of our customers. A key objective for us is to secure knowledge sharing and alignment across our global organisation so that we can offer customers the same high level of expertise wherever they are located.”

The skills and competencies gathered at the new centre will allow Chr. Hansen Natural Colours to balance short- and long-term innovation needs as the company anchors numerous teams in Montpellier with expertise in raw materials, extraction and pigments, breeding, formulation and biotechnologies.

“When travel policies allow again, we are excited to welcome customers and academic partners and jointly accelerate colourful, natural innovations for modern health conscious consumers,” Bjerrum concluded.