February 28/Austin, Minn./Business Wire -- Hormel Foods Corporation has opened an Idea and Innovation Center in China. The new center, which opened today, is devoted to creating innovative new products for Chinese consumers.

The 5,000-square-foot Idea and Innovation Center is adjoined with the Hormel Foods processing facility in the Baoshan District of Shanghai. The center will facilitate the entire creative process, from ideation to testing and manufacturing, and it includes a sensory panel room for evaluation of products as well as a fully-functional duplicated plant.

"This new facility represents the future of Hormel Foods, combining local expertise, a heritage of innovation and 116 years of quality," said Jeffrey M. Ettinger, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer, Hormel Foods. "Our local meat experts will work closely with our Research and Development team in the U.S. as they lead this facility and guide the innovative process."

The center will serve Hormel Foods facilities in both Beijing and Shanghai, and it will be overseen by Rubin Lin, research and development manager for China, and Mike Forbes, manager of production for China.

"As we continue to grow internationally, it is essential we adapt to changing local tastes, cultures and lifestyles," said Richard A. Bross, president, Hormel Foods International Corporation. "The new Idea and Innovation Center in China will help us build our diversified product portfolio and better serve our Chinese customers."

Hormel Foods has established a significant presence in Asia with business ventures in China, the Philippines, South Korea, Japan and, most recently, Vietnam. In 2007, Shanghai Hormel Foods was named one of China's Top Employers for 2007, and Hormel Foods was designated as the processed meats supplier to the Training Bureau of China State Sports, where the Chinese Olympic athletes train.

From the March 3, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash