Novel technologies thrive in an open environment and Tate & Lyle has created the perfect setting for success to flourish in its new Commercial and Food Innovation Center, a state-of-the-art 110,000-square-foot facility that celebrated its grand opening in June.
"Our customers truly own this center"
Tate & Lyle, a global provider of ingredients and solutions to the food, beverage and other industries, continues to house its bulk ingredient headquarters in Decatur, Illinois. The new center, in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, with access to Chicago’s transportation hubs and amenities, offers world-class capabilities that house all four of its business platforms under one roof, including texturants, sweeteners, health and wellness and bulk ingredients.
The new center acts as the cornerstone for Tate & Lyle’s increasing global network of research, food application and technical support laboratories and will serve as the global headquarters of its Innovation and Commercial Development unit. It is also the North American headquarters of Tate & Lyle’s Specialty Food Ingredients division.
The new center includes advanced food science research and processing laboratories, applications and technical services laboratories, a culinary demonstration kitchen, a full suite of consumer insight and sensory testing facilities, pilot plant and prototype manufacturing facilities plus the ability to host global teleconferences that can bring in ideas and contributions from team members around the world.
Tate & Lyle operates 15 research and development labs around the world, from China to Europe and Australia. “With this new center as our hub, using the hub and spoke approach, this facilitates connectivity globally,” says Karl Kramer, president of innovation and commercial development. “We can stream focus groups live around the world, testing a product concept from the Shanghai office and stream it live in North America.”
To create the center, says Kramer, the company spent at least three years in the initial planning stages collecting feedback and ideas from its customers to incorporate their ideals into this facility. “If we talk about ownership, our customers own this center. This isn’t just anyone’s dream come true; it is everyone’s wishes bundled into one campus,” says Kramer.
In addition, the new state-of-the-art center not only blends into its Illinois prairie environment aesthetically, but also as an entity entirely aware of its impact on the surrounding environment.
We offer our customers and the fine minds and talent that come to work for Tate & Lyle tangible evidence of our firm commitment to a sustainable environmental agenda,” says Kramer.
With that in mind, the end goal is still a viable result. Consumers are looking for products that combine health, convenience, value and taste and the goal is to significantly accelerate their delivery to market.
“Chewing on an idea without concrete testing methods is like chewing on the end of a pencil—you wind up with very little,” says Kramer. “This facility enables us to perform an idea-to-plate process. It might be a long day, but we expect to provide our customers with a tried, tested and tasted ingredient sample in hand to take back to their own company.” FFI