Ingredients giant Tate & Lyle (T&L) has opened an innovation centre in Lille, France.

The €4m centre, opened on 19 September, will focus on developing health and nutrition products, with laboratories and testing faciities open to T&L’s customers.

Bakery and food manufacturers are among those who will be able to use T&L’s pilot laboratory, allowing them to test out systems, products and processes on a small scale before upscaling to a plant operation.

T&L’s research and development team will develop new ingredients in the field of "wellness and nutrition", as well as exploring novel applications for its current range of functional food ingredients.

Vice-president of sales and marketing EMEA, James Blunt, said the centre "will not only provide a huge boost to the development of our own value-added ingredient product range, but will also be extremely valuable to our customers as they refine and perfect their own products.

"Our research shows that consumers in Europe are becoming more conscious of having a healthy, balanced diet. We are confident that this facility will be one of the principle hubs in the industry for the development of health and wellness ingredients across a range of applications."

On the same day, T&L revealed it will also open a new Polydextrose production line at its Koog plant in the Netherlands. The facility will be the first of its kind in Europe, with the capacity to manufacture a range of different soluble fibres, with applications in a range of food and drinks.

T&L’s range includes texturants, sweeteners and dietary fibre brands.