Fantastic news: BIG food conglomerates embrace localized production

Henrik Stamm Kristensen

This week it has been published that Unilever has developed and is currently testing what they have called a “travel factory” in portable shipping container. Traditional mindsets may think – watch out, Blendhub, you’ve got competition now – but nothing is further away from how I see this, because when we invented the “PPB from static-to-portable” concept back in 2008 and we knew that global success could only be achieved if others joined the “Localization Movement” and what has just happened makes me feel incredibly pleased and proud.

I am pleased because I see that big food companies are starting to accept that global production models need to become local, in order to optimize supply chains resulting not only in better, safer and cheaper food and nutrition but also create a huge positive impact on reducing carbon footprint for every single food product.

And I feel proud because this is the path that Blendhub and our visionary team decided to open up for innovators and early adopters in the food industry value chain more than a decade ago, when we ideated, developed and deployed our first network hub in India – with the core of the hub being our Portable Powder Blending unit (PPB) – a factory that fits into and is transported in a 40-foot container and is deployed in only 250m2 space.

With the PPB being the “brain” of the production hub, we have since then perfected a unique and replicable business model which permits us to deploy new hubs being fully operational in less than 6 months, ensuring highest food safety and security with full supply chain traceability and a unique digitized quality control of ingredients entering and final products leaving our hubs anywhere in the world.

We were pioneers ourselves by moving production from our own static traditional factory in Spain to a novel portable hub in India and then implementing a global multi-localized network strategy. This move made us understand prior to others in the food industry, that deploying a PPB is about 10X faster and cheaper than building a traditional static factory. This has allowed us so far to bring production to 4 continents quickly, efficiently and safely, closer to raw materials and final consumers and the accountable impact on sustainability and lower food product prices is staggering.

With this experience we decided in 2015 to modify our traditional product-based business model into what we today call Food-as-a-Service. This offers the opportunity for any food brand, from startups to SMEs, big food and ingredients producers and even retail chains, NGOs and governmental organizations the possibility to rapidly develop new and disruptive commercial strategies based on global ideation and local launch of food products and at the same time generate new local employment and decrease carbon emissions.

Our visionary idea and a powerful replication model have now been turned into a successful reality. Over the last 10 years we have deployed 7 hubs in Spain, India, Mexico, Colombia and Thailand and have 2 PPBs ready to go and we are now offering anyone to participate under various win/win/win business models and we will thereby be accelerating the deployment of new sustainable food production hubs anywhere in the world.

Working with mainly powder-based ingredients and an infinite amount of food products is giving us unlimited possibilities of production in our PPBs and a multiple line strategy can easily be deployed under the same roof to host completely different types of products.

In short, we believe that the future of food depends on decentralizing production and localizing it closer to raw materials and final consumers to produce in a more efficient and sustainable way. We can only impact together and Blendhub supports SDG2, 12 and 17 in a very clear and measurable manner.

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