Heinz is working on a new innovation center project, consolidating Heinz's European operations into a new purpose built innovation center in Nijmegen, a facility that can house up to 200 people. The health and food axes run through the eastern part of the Netherlands, in the proximity of the University of Wageningen, Radboud University in Nijmegen and then also the University of Twente in Enschede.
Heinz had had commercial operations in Europe that date back more than a hundred years
Can you describe HJ Heinz as a company?
“Heinz is a global food company, it’s headquartered in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania in the United States. Heinz had had commercial operations in Europe that date back more than a hundred years.”
You’re stationed in Zeist. What are Heinz’ activities over here?
“This location in Zeist, The Netherlands, where we are at now has three purposes. Firstly it’s the headquarters for the commercial operations of our business in the Benelux. Secondly it’s the location of our supply chain hub. And finally it’s the headquarters for continental Europe which is the business-unit that covers the Benelux, France, Spain, Portugal and the Nordics. Besides our location in Zeist we’re working on a new innovation center project where we’re consolidating our European operations into a new purpose built innovation center in Nijmegen.”
Driven by ideas that come out of this new innovation center.
What exactly will be the purpose of this new innovation center?
“All of the main categories that we sell in Europe will be supported by that center. So that’s obviously sauces and ketchup, our soups-business, our beans and meals business. All of those will be driven by ideas that come out of this new innovation center.”
What will be the impact of this innovation center looking at employment for instance?
“We’ve built a facility that can house up to 200 people. But we also have the room, with the eye towards the future, to expand beyond that. I think the innovation center will be very significant to begin with, and it could be very, very significant later on.”
Oost NL has definitely played a role in helping bring these parties together and also together with us.
In what way has Oost NL been able to contribute to the realization of this new innovation center?
“I think if you step back and look at the project as a whole there has been a whole platter of Dutch state-actors who have been around and facilitated. From the Ministry of Economic Affairs through to the Province, through to the Municipality. Oost NL has definitely played a role in helping bring these parties together and also together with us to create a solution we think that works to the benefit of everybody.”
Why did Heinz choose Nijmegen as the location for its new innovation center?
“A critical factor in the decision to come to Nijmegen was the sort of conjunction really of these sorts of health and food axes that run through the eastern part of the Netherlands. Proximity to the University of Wageningen, Radboud University in Nijmegen and then also the University of Twente in Enschede were very, very important for us. Secondly because in this kind of region you have a whole host of academic institutes, research institutes, technology start-ups that are keen and eager to partner with people like us and we’re keen and eager to partner and work with them. I think if we can maintain that momentum the spin-off for the region as a whole will be enormous.”