Vlaardingen R&D is the research centre for Unilever’s foods brands, and in addition the development centre for Spreads and Dressings brands and Food Solutions. It also houses the regional development centre for Home Care and Personal Care.
Work at Vlaardingen adds to Unilever’s capability across three distinct areas: research, product development and implementation. Research focuses on innovations around key capabilities such as new leads and scientific evidence for functional benefits, superior sensory quality, and processes and structures for natural, sustainable products. Global product development creates new technologies for new products, to be rolled out to benefit consumers all over the world. Regional product development and implementation brings new innovations to the regions by implementing global mixes for local markets, adapting if necessary to local needs.
Employing more than 900 people of over 50 nationalities, Vlaardingen is home to Unilever’s global research expertise in Structures and Structuring and Advanced Process Science; Nutrition and Health; Taste and Flavour; Microbiology and Analytical.
Established in 1957, Vlaardingen has contributed to some of Unilever’s most significant product innovations including: Small & Mighty double concentrated liquid detergents; Sun Green environmentally friendly machine dishwash tablets; Calve 3% fat mayonnaise that is made using unique citrus fibre technology; Bertolli Melange, which combines the goodness of Bertolli olive oil with the taste of butter; and the patented jelly technology behind Knorr Stock Pot bouillon.
Vlaardingen scientists developed Becel’s Heart Age Tool that calculates how old/young the heart is compared to chronological age and a breakthrough technology called Cool Blending which allows us to produce margarines of superior quality - in terms of taste and texture - with up to 80% less saturated fat than butter. The centre also laid the scientific basis for the approval by European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) of the health claims for Unilever’s Becel and Blue Band margarines.
Unilever research prize
The annual Unilever Research Prize is presented to outstanding postgraduate students - one from each of the 13 Dutch universities - in chemistry, biology, mechanical engineering and social sciences. The prize was established in 1956 to strengthen the bond between industry and academic research, and to motivate students to excel.