Cooperation, not competition, drives Viterra’s approach to research, development and discovery; leveraging partnerships along the entire length of the supply chain for synergistic efficiencies that yield practical results.

On the surface, the North American Viterra Food Processing Group consists of three divisions:  pasta, specialty oils and oat and specialty grain milling. A peek beneath the surface reveals a global, collaborative network with Viterra focusing on the relationships and resources that extends their knowledge bank and improves products and services.

“This global vision allows us to expand our horizons far beyond the four walls that comprise any single business unit in our operations, to best serve our customers.”

“When we work with partners such as Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, it opens up a broad range of technologies and analytical capabilities that enable us, in a cost-efficient manner to explore and create innovative ideas,” says Trevor Pizzey, Vice President of North American Food Processing for Viterra.  “By combining the specialized knowledge of our own developers, with the experts at these research centers, it opens up the broadest possible spectrum of the latest product knowledge and technical advances. This global vision allows us to expand our horizons far beyond the four walls that comprise any single business unit in our operations, to best serve our customers,” he says.

This collaboration has enabled Viterra to delve into the microscopic world revealing secrets locked inside the oat genome to improve the nutritional qualities of this beta-glucan powerhouse. On a macro scale it led to the development of highly efficient throughput manufacturing capabilities working with the Northern Crops Institute in Fargo for extrusion and drying technology to validate formula work.

One recent product innovation resulted in improved functionality and product performance of a granola cluster with a fruit bit.  The fruit bit retains its softness yet prevents the moisture from migrating outward and softening the granola. This created a dual texture cluster, with the crunch of the granola and the softness of the fruit bit.

Viterra has also developed a high beta-glucan content oat bran that meets the increasingly strict government regulations allowing processors to use heart healthy claims on products. Furthermore, its creation relied upon traditional dry milling technology, enabling Viterra to control costs and offer a functional and affordable ingredient.

On the radar screen is a cooperative effort between the grains division and pasta unit involving legumes such as beans, peas and lentils. “Our focus here is mixing ingredients to create a new protein-rich side dish or main meal delivered through a common cupboard staple, which is pasta,” says Pizzey.

Each project fits with the company’s core philosophy—to feed the world in a healthy fashion using sustainable agricultural practices.  “Strategic supply relationships expect innovation to feed synergistically off of the variety of suppliers called in to solve a problem,” says Pizzey.  “By leveraging the latest and best new technologies and research we bring something fresh to the marketplace with functional, nutritional and often healthy value.” FFI

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