Partnerships with purpose

Bühler has consciously driven an ecosystem-based approach to innovation for more than 15 years with the goal of forming businesses that contribute to solving some of the burning issues of our times. Through collaboration we can do this faster. Today, our growing global network of academic partners, start-ups, NGOs, customers, and suppliers contribute to delivering pioneering technology and business solutions that tackle issues such as climate change, and food and energy security, and accelerate the transition to more sustainable mobility. Here are some examples of our many partnerships.


Partnerships with purpose

Bühler has consciously driven an ecosystem-based approach to innovation for more than 15 years with the goal of forming businesses that contribute to solving some of the burning issues of our times. Through collaboration we can do this faster. Today, our growing global network of academic partners, start-ups, NGOs, customers, and suppliers contribute to delivering pioneering technology and business solutions that tackle issues such as climate change, and food and energy security, and accelerate the transition to more sustainable mobility. Here are some examples of our many partnerships.


Ian Roberts, Chief Technology Officer explains Bühler is on track to have solutions ready to multiply by 2025 that will reduce energy, water, and waste by 50% in the value chains of its customers. To maximize impact, Bühler’s collaborative ecosystem was again expanded in 2022. From precision fermentation and cellular agriculture to pulse processing in the alternative protein market, and enhancing efficiency and sustainability in the feed industry, a host of partnerships ensure that process know-how and technology are aligned to enable customers to innovate and scale up. New open collaboration platforms in Switzerland, Singapore, China, and the United States lay the foundation to create more synergies. Watch the video to learn more about the next phase of the company’s journey of working across ecosystems and working with partners.

Bühler started its partnership with Big Idea Ventures in 2020 to accelerate the success of promising start-ups creating sustainable meat alternatives. Big Idea Ventures is a global hybrid venture capital firm focused on solving the world’s biggest challenges by supporting the world’s best entrepreneurs. Through their “New Protein Fund I”, the company has invested in and accelerated 65 alternative protein companies globally. Big Idea Ventures runs six accelerator programs annually in New York, Singapore, and Paris. 

Bühler AG and CN & Partners AG in July 2022 announced a partnership to establish the new company, Circular Food Solutions Switzerland AG, based in Lenzburg, Switzerland. The partnership combines Bühler’s processing expertise and intellectual property with CN & Partners’ skills, experience, and network to bring a new solution to the plant-based meat market.  

The Crowther Lab at ETH Zurich is an interdisciplinary scientific research group aiming to generate a better understanding of global ecology to inform and address biodiversity loss and climate change. The Crowther lab has supported the Bühler Networking Days in 2019 and 2022 and the One Young World Caucuses. Prof. Dr. Tom Crowther also advises Bühler to ensure our actions and programs, such as the Environmental Quantification Program, have a positive impact and consider all elements of sustainability (for example, biodiversity, land use, etc.). Prof. Dr. Crowther has been a member of Bühler’s Sustainability Committee since 2021.

In 2020, Bühler positioned two UNITECH interns in the Crowther Lab to support their mission to eliminate lack of knowledge as a barrier to successful restoration. The interns reached out to restoration organizations worldwide and shared the research of the Crowther Lab to ensure restoration projects are successful and supported business development topics as the Restor platform was created and launched. 

Restor is accelerating the conservation and restoration of nature for the benefit of people, biodiversity, and climate. Restor connects people and projects to scientific data, monitoring tools, funding, and each other to increase the impact, scale, and sustainability of these efforts. To compensate the environmental impact of the Bühler Networking Days event, Restor helped Bühler select, fund, and monitor two restoration projects which reduced CO2e through conservation of nature and increased biodiversity, and supported local job creation.

Bühler and the Deutsches Institut für Lebensmitteltechnik e.V. (DIL), a research institute focusing on food technology and food science, teamed up in 2020 to develop new production technologies for alternative protein products. New sustainable plant-based proteins have a significantly lower environmental impact and a lower CO₂e footprint than the animal meat value chain. It is therefore essential to explore and identify alternative and underused sources of protein and develop efficient technologies to convert these into attractive, marketable products. A key technology to unlock this opportunity is extrusion. High moisture extrusion enables the conversion of plant proteins into food products with textures similar to meat. It is a technology in which Bühler leads the market. 

The DIL campus in Quakenbrück, Germany, provides state-of-the-art food safety labs, pilot plants, and research capabilities. With DIL, Bühler has a partner that can provide food grade tests and production labs combined with extensive analytical services. In 2021, Bühler and DIL opened the Technology Center Proteins of the Future to make a vital contribution to closing the protein gap. At this facility, customers and start-ups prototype new products and upscale to full production capacity in a full-scale extrusion plan while benefiting from comprehensive consultancy services.

A new strategic partnership with German engineering company endeco was formed in June 2022 to drive forward pulse processing, meet growing demand for alternative sources of protein, and develop pulse processing solutions with a significantly lower CO₂e footprint. Endeco is specialized in the design and construction of starch and protein plants. Bühler and endeco have agreed to build a new Protein Application Center at Bühler’s headquarters in Uzwil, Switzerland, to offer customers end-to-end solutions, from bean to burger, including all wet and dry processing.  


As a founding partner of the World Food System Centre at ETH Zurich, Bühler and Migros funded the assistant Professorship in Sustainable Food Processing. In 2022, Alex Mathys received his full professorship for this role. 

In 2022, Bühler, Givaudan, and Nestlé are supporting ETH Zurich in strengthening research and teaching in the field of food technology and nutrition. Together, they are providing ETH Zurich via the ETH Foundation with CHF 5 million over the next six years for research and teaching. The companies’ contribution will go towards creating a new professorship in food engineering for nutrition at the Department of Health Sciences and Technology (D- HEST). In addition, it will be used to enable scientific work at the doctoral or postdoctoral level and to fund research projects in the newly created research group. 

Singapore-ETH Centre (SEC) and Bühler announced the deployment of Bühler’s state-of-the-art Stellar Gemini system at SEC’s Urban Microalgae Protein project laboratory in Singapore in August 2022. The Stellar technology, a world first developed by Bühler, is based on nanosecond pulsed electric fields. It will be used to increase the efficiency of microalgae processing. The project aims to enhance Singapore’s food security by establishing resilient, sustainable, and cost-effective agri-food systems using microalgae-based food products. 

Bühler is a founding industry partner with ETH Zurich in Switzerland and Ashesi University in Ghana offering a master’s program in mechatronics engineering since 2020. Swiss companies ABB, BarryCallebaut, Lafarge Holcim, and Nestlé are also partners of this project, supporting through funding and scholarships. All partners will offer internships at their African branches, equipping them with the skills needed in the labor market. 

The three-year program equips students with specialist competencies and a wide range of skills to pursue careers in production and automation. Each year, 25 to 30 students will join the master's program from all over Sub-Saharan Africa; candidates are selected based on their knowledge, skills, motivation, and leadership potential. The program aims to promote the next generation of leaders in Sub-Saharan Africa who will take responsibility for sustainable development in the region.

Bühler has been present on the campus of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) since 2015. The Bühler Innovation office was established at the EPFL Innovation Park to foster collaborations with EPFL centers (e.g., Swiss Data Science Center, Integrative Food & Nutrition Center), research laboratories, start-ups, and spin-offs. The collaborations, including joint student internships and master projects, have also been key to ensuring continuous access to future talents for Bühler in all engineering fields taught at EPFL, from mechanical engineering to data science.  

Thirteen students from EPFL completed their Industrial Master thesis and Master internship at Bühler in 2022, working on innovation projects for 4 to 6 months. Those internships were the opportunity for Bühler to initiate new collaboration topics with EPFL laboratories in the field of energy optimization, granular materials, and pulsed electric field for bioprocessing. 

Since 2018, Bühler data scientists have been embedded on the EPFL campus to collaborate closely with the Swiss Data Science Center and a selected group of partner companies. In 2022, the team continued to develop new algorithms and digital services aimed at optimizing the efficiency of the processing plants and equipment of Bühler’s customers.

Bühler and Flottweg SE from Germany signed a cooperation agreement in June 2022 to offer full value chain solutions to customers in the plant-based protein market. Combining Flottweg’s wet fractionation expertise and Bühler’s dry process expertise allows the two companies jointly to offer integrated solutions and optimized processes with the highest yields, reduced environmental impact, and best quality protein isolates. 

Future Food Initiative was launched by ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) and EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) together with Bühler, Givaudan, and Nestlé as the first partners on board. Its goal is to expand research and education in food and nutrition sciences by bringing competences from academic and industrial research together, including through a fellowship program. It will develop solutions that address major challenges such as making packaging more sustainable, for example, through the elimination of plastics, and affordable nutrition, for example to combat deficiencies and starvation globally. The program is co-managed by the World Food System Center at ETH Zurich and the Integrative Food Science and Nutrition Center at EPFL.

Givaudan and Bühler collaborate on several projects with the aim of finding better, healthier, and more sustainable ways of feeding up to 10 billion people by 2050. In April 2021, the two partners opened the state-of-the-art Protein Innovation Centre in Singapore. It welcomes food processing companies, start-ups, and university researchers from across the Asia Pacific (APAC) region keen to co-create plant-based food experiences that do good and feel good. The Protein Innovation Centre will not only enable the development of more plant-based protein products across Asia, it will also ensure that products can be scaled to the production volumes required to create a positive environmental impact on food chains. 

Bühler has also worked with Givaudan and Migros to form a new entity, the Cultured Food Innovation Hub, in Kemptthal near Zurich, to support and accelerate the large-scale development of fermentation and cultivated food products. The self-sustained enterprise will provide other companies with facilities, technology, and expertise to support the scale-up of cultured meats, cultured fish, and seafood, as well as precision fermentation products.  

In July 2022, Givaudan, Bühler, and Cargill, formed a consortium in collaboration with the FoodTech Hub Latam and ITAL, Food Technology Institute, to build a food innovation center in the city of Campinas, Brazil. The Tropical Food Innovation Lab will be at the Food Technology Institute, ITAL, in a fully refurbished, 1,300 square meter area. The Tropical Food Innovation Lab is planned to open in 2023. This new hub will be the go-to place in Latin America providing startups, companies, investors, universities, and research institutions with direct access to high-end technologies for rapid prototyping and plugging into the global food tech ecosystem that will foster fast-paced innovation in the food and beverage sector.  

Bühler and Hosokawa Alpine Group from Germany have signed a strategic collaboration agreement to accelerate and strengthen the production of healthier and sustainable plant protein solutions. It will provide customers with the most efficient value chain for pulses that are processed into protein ingredients.

As the leading solution provider in pulses processing, Bühler offers solutions for the intake, cleaning, dehulling, and grinding of pulses, and further food processing with its extrusion technology, which texturizes plant-based proteins into products with fibrous texture similar to meat. Hosokawa Alpine complements the production process by adding its leading technology for the dry separation of pulses’ protein: fine grinding and air classification. 

The combination of Bühler’s upstream pulses process and Hosokawa’s process for size reduction and classification produces the highest yields of high value protein concentrates. The partnership will offer customers process technology and expertise along the complete field-to-fork pulses protein chain.

Icos is a venture capital firm working at the intersection of digital and sustainable industry. By bringing corporations and start-ups together and facilitating strong partnerships with investors, Icos aims to build an ecosystem that helps to accelerate and scale up sustainable solutions. Bühler has worked closely with ICOS since 2014 developing an impactful and promising investment portfolio. 

A joint venture with IMDHER S.A. de C.V., a leading player in the animal nutrition market in Mexico, will drive process efficiency, quality, and sustainability in the feed industry. Animal protein remains an important part of human nutrition and global meat consumption is rising. It is therefore essential to ensure that the animal protein value chain is as efficient and sustainable as possible. 

The new company, called IMDHER Bühler, will offer Bühler’s core machines as well as IMDHER’s expertise to IMDHER’s customers, providing solutions that will help them to improve the capacity and efficiency of their operations. IMDHER brings four decades of experience building plants to produce animal feed, including pet food and aqua. The family-owned business is a turnkey supplier to the Mexican feed market, with 20% market share. Bühler has a minority stake of 49% in the joint venture.  

Bühler and Jiangnan University founded the Future Food Center in 2020, which is equipped with Bühler’s twin screw extruders PolyCool 50 and BCTM-30 for small-scale research on plant-based foods. Jiangnan University and Bühler established the Protein Industry Alliance (IPIA) and held the Future Food Summit in May 2021 with industry partners such as Givaudan, Glanbia, Wufangzhai, Haidilao Research Institute, Dongsheng Biotech, and Jinnong Biologicals.

Bühler has been a partner of this cross-industry start-up accelerator since 2014 and joined MassChallenge Switzerland as a founding partner in 2016. Since 2016, MassChallenge Switzerland has been a leader in helping start-ups across Europe grow their businesses. It has accelerated 492 start-ups across multiple industries that have raised more than USD 600 million in funding and generated over 16,000 jobs.

In 2022, Bühler became a member of MISTA, a multi-dimensional innovation platform based in San Francisco, US, which has been created to transform the global food system to meet the needs of the future. To enhance the innovation capability of MISTA, Bühler is providing expert operators and an extrusion line that will be commissioned in February 2023. The facility supports MISTA partners, as well as start-ups and will form part of Bühler’s North American network to support customers.  

Bühler and MMS AG in Urdorf, Zürich, formed an innovation and technology partnership in June 2022 to drive the development of high functionality ingredients for sustainable meat and dairy analogues. MMS’s expertise in membrane technology enables the separation of valuable components with superior functionality, sensory, and nutritional benefits. In combination with Bühler’s processing expertise and upstream and downstream technologies for the plant-based protein market, the partnership provides the opportunity to explore the next generation of meat and dairy analogues.  

One Young World (OYW) was the catalyst for the Generation B movement in 2016 and continues to be a source of inspiration and long-term partner. One Young World is a non-profit organization that convenes young leaders from around the world to develop solutions to the world’s most pressing issues. Bühler sends delegates to the summit every year to inspire members of the organization to drive change. One of these change vehicles is Generation B.

In 2019 Bühler and Generation B hosted their first OYW Caucus, a local version of the OYW Summit, with founder Kate Robertson attending in person in the CUBIC. In 2021, Bühler and Generation B held their second OYW Caucus, this time in partnership with Arosa Tourismus, where 300 young and young-at-heart leaders from companies and universities all over Europe came together to contribute to the OYW Switzerland Caucus in Uzwil and Arosa and online, on June 19 and 20. The Caucus tackled three questions; how we can create start-ups with sustainability at their core, how we can evolve corporations to be sustainable, and how we can make entire industries more sustainable, using tourism as an example. 

In 2022, Bühler hosted the first official OYW Switzerland Caucus – celebrating the founding of the first OYW National Board. This event brought together 100 young leaders, with 15 different organizations in Switzerland officially partnering to support the event, and truly enabling the vision of the Swiss National Board to identify, connect and promote Switzerland’s most impactful young leaders.

Partners in Food Solutions (PFS) is a nonprofit organization which aims to strengthen food security, improve nutrition, and increase overall economic development across Africa. Corporate partners from the food industry such as General Mills, DSM, Cargill, Ardent Mills, Smucker’s, and Hershey encourage their employees to volunteer and support food entrepreneurs with their expertise. Bühler joined the initiative in 2013. In 2022, 65 employees supported 81 PFS projects. In total, Bühler employees volunteered 886 hours in 2022 and passed on their know-how to 59 companies in 9 different countries in Africa. By sharing their expertise, the volunteers were able to assist local entrepreneurs in growing their business, support a supplier base of more than 237,044 farmers, and unlock USD 105,655 of investment capital.

Premier Tech and Bühler established a fifty-fifty joint venture called Bühler Premier Tech to create new cost-effective packaging solutions and achieve greater success in the global market.

Bühler and Premier Tech entered this strategic partnership in August 2019. Both companies are proud to have in the meantime successfully introduced the first products to the market which are fully developed in the joint venture based on technologies transferred from Premier Tech. This strategy to jointly develop industrial flexible packaging solutions destined for the food and feed markets in China, but also for emerging markets, paid off very well for both companies. 

The Scale It Up! innovation challenge helps start-ups to accelerate and scale their project, product, or solution from a first version to a scalable product ready to be launched. Bühler, Cargill, Givaudan, and Puris, all leaders within the food system value chain, will support the start-ups on their journey with their expertise and access to their network and first-class facilities. The first Scale It Up! challenge was held in 2021.

Swiss Food & Nutrition Valley (SFNV) is a not-for-profit association that strengthens and promotes food system innovation, both within Switzerland and across the globe. SFNV’s diverse member organizations collaborate to address the most pressing challenges in food, agriculture, and nutrition, and co-create innovative solutions that drive better planetary and human health. Bühler, ADM, Firmenich, Givaudan, Nestlé, ETH, EPFL, as well as cantons, accelerators and more than 40 small- and mid-size enterprises and start-ups make up the SFNV ecosystem.

UNITECH was founded in 2000 for the academic and corporate worlds to jointly develop a group of talented young engineers to enable them to manage future challenges in global industry and to help bridge the gap between the corporate and academic world. Bühler has partnered with UNITECH since 2014 and has employed more than 20 UNITECH Alumni within the company.

The UNITECH Diploma is awarded to students who complete an academic exchange at one of the partner universities, complete three coaching modules and an internship at one of the corporate partners. In 2021, Bühler continued to employ UNITECH interns to run the Environmental Quantification Program, research and development projects, automation and digitalization projects, data science, and Bühler’s product development process.

In October 2022, Bühler joined Upcell, an alliance of European players from industry and universities along the value chain of lithium-ion battery manufacturing. The aim of the Alliance is to scale up development of the battery cell manufacturing ecosystem in Europe by providing one networking platform between equipment and machine builders and battery manufacturers. 

Bühler and Vyncke announced their partnership in March 2021 to offer Vyncke’s solutions for burning biomass by-products to provide clean energy for Bühler’s food and feed customers. The circular system using steam boilers enables customers to significantly lower their CO₂e emissions and achieve cost savings. The biggest project so far resulted in savings of 250 tons of fuel oil per day, which allowed for a reduction of CO₂e emissions in a parboiler plant of 60%. Bühler and Vyncke aim at equipping 20% of Bühler’s installed base and 80% of new plants with Vyncke solutions to accelerate impact. 

In July 2022, the partnership was extended. At its main Swiss site in Uzwil, Bühler is investing in reducing its CO2e emissions. To this end, Bühler is building a test center together Vyncke for recovering energy from biomass generated by Bühler’s Application & Training Centers at the site. The facility will also be used for demonstration and testing purposes with customers and for further development of integrated energy efficiency solutions. In Uzwil, Bühler operates many Application & Training Centers to test and develop new processes and recipes for end products together with customers. In addition, there is an experimental bakery and a school mill. All these facilities produce about 550 tons of biomass annually. Bühler and Vyncke will use this biomass, which includes, for example, rice husks and cocoa shells, to generate CO2e-neutral energy. Together with other measures already implemented at the Uzwil site, this test plant will reduce CO2e emissions for heating energy by over 60%.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is a global, CEO-led organization of over 200 leading businesses working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world. The member companies come from all business sectors and all major economies, representing a combined revenue of more than USD 8.5 trillion and 19 million employees. The global network of almost 70 national business councils gives all members unparalleled reach across the globe.

A new joint venture with Austrian pharmaceutical and biotechnology company ZETA was announced in June 2022. The new company, Eridia, will engineer food and feed biotechnology plants mainly in precision fermentation and cellular agriculture. ZETA brings extensive experience in scaling pilot scale to industrial bio pharma. Bühler is a market leader in providing technology and processing expertise for the food and feed industry and is focused on creating more sustainable value chains for its customers worldwide. Eridia, headquartered in Leobendorf, Austria, is a 50/50 joint venture that will develop solutions to meet the rising global demand for food and feed while reducing the impact on the environment. 

Content Block

Do you have a question? Contact our Media Relations team.

Gupfenstrasse 5