Untold Innovation Story
Processors and ingredient suppliers are building new innovation centers from coast to coast.
- R&D innovation centers have a place at companies with open innovation networks. Nestlé SA and its U.S. businesses may not be radical or vocal about open innovation. Yet, with its wildly successful Stouffer’s Panini (and more items since), Nestlé Prepared Foods has proven it can successfully work with outside processor-partners. Meanwhile, Nestlé SA continues to invest in global R&D “best-in-class” facilities in Solon, Ohio. One project involved an entirely new site for Nestlé Professional (see PF November 2012). Now, Solon is preparing to welcome a second global R&D center of excellence for Nestlé’s frozen and further prepared retail foods businesses.
- There are just as many new, multi-million dollar innovation centers within the ingredient supplier community. Prepared Foods has showcased nearly 10 new R&D centers during the past year alone. There are two more facility profiles (under our “Foundation for Innovation” series) in this issue, found on pages 51-56. These suppliers (with more to come) use new innovation centers to become preferred partners with facilities where both sides can co-create new finished product options.
- There’s a fascinating growth story here (quite literally) which I don’t think is ever told in capital expenditure forecasts. Analysts, such as Industrial Info Resources, routinely track food and beverage industry capital expenditures ($2.65 billion already underway in Q1), but I suspect these reviews don’t fully account for these many processor and supplier innovation centers.