The Innovation and Commercial Development (ICD) group is a key enabler of Tate & Lyle’s strategy. Established on 1 June 2010, its remit is to drive long-term growth across Tate & Lyle.
ICD brings together three areas – product development, marketing, and platform management – into one global team, providing an integrated approach to developing and commercialising innovation.
While ICD supports both of Tate & Lyle’s global business units, it concentrates mainly on growing our Speciality Food Ingredients division. As a result, ICD’s resources are predominantly focused on three broad areas within the global speciality food ingredients market – sweeteners, texturants and health and wellness.
Within ICD, we have a dedicated Open Innovation team which looks to develop partnerships with universities, customers and start-ups specialising in food science, with a goal of bringing their new technologies or products to market.
ICD is responsible for developing and managing the Group’s innovation pipeline, and also for launching commercially successful new products.
Innovation centres and laboratories
ICD is currently headquartered in Decatur, Illinois, USA but, by early 2012, its global headquarters will be the new Commercial and Food Innovation Centre in Chicago, USA. This new centre, which will feature state-of-the-art laboratories, a demonstration kitchen, and sensory testing, analytical and pilot plant facilities, will give us the ideal facilities for working more closely with customers. In this centre we will be able to develop solutions to meet their functional, formulation and nutritional needs.
As well as the new centre in Chicago, ICD has a research centre in Lille, France. These two centres are supported by a global network of smaller regional applications laboratories (in countries such as China, Germany, Argentina, Australia, and South Africa) where our local applications specialists take our customers’ products from a written brief to prototype at high speed, while ensuring the final product reflects local tastes. We are currently building two more applications laboratories, one in Brazil and one in Mexico.
ICD also operates the Group’s pilot plant facilities, both laboratory scale and within our manufacturing facilities. Scaling up and testing formulations and ideas at our pilot plants allows us to assess the feasibility of new processes, new products and new technology, ensuring we get them right before investing in commercial-scale processes.
Customer understanding drives all that we do. We use market research to help us better understand the consumer (our customers’ customer). Through our research programme, ICD measures consumers’ views on particular ingredients; gets their opinions on the latest trends; analyses their dietary habits; and understands their attitudes towards ‘healthy’ food. Our research covers all the regions of the world we operate in, giving us the insights necessary to offer tailor-made solutions for our customers that we know will work in local markets.