Autocrat Natural Ingredients, Lincoln, R.I., opened a multi-faceted Food and Beverage Solutions Center in the greater Boston area.
Autocrat supplies coffee and tea extracts to the dairy, food and foodservice industries. The company has experience in developing customer solutions for a wide range of customer applications including ice cream, iced cappuccino, ready-to-drink beverages, energy drinks, yogurt, soy beverages, candy, snack bars, and alcohol products.
“The goal of creating our new center is to enable us to do the best possible job of developing and commercializing new product solutions for our customers in the dairy, food processing, and foodservice industries,” says Autocrat CEO, Patrick Holmes. “…We are sending a message to our customers that Autocrat is willing to put skin into the game to help them develop and launch breakthrough new food and beverage products. We believe we are the only company of our type and size now offering these new solution development capabilities to our customers.”
Autocrat’s new facility has two sections: a 1,300-sq.-ft. R&D lab and a consumer research site.
“The idea is that our customers can come here; their technical team can work with our team in the lab; then the ideas can be taken to the consumer research site for consumer feedback and optimization,” says Steve Olyha, Autocrat COO. “The objective is to have everything in one place to support joint innovation and new product development.”
Autocrat’s R&D Lab features a staff of six, including trained sensory experts. Officials say the lab is fully-equipped for technical development of new foods and beverages. The operation is certified by the Safe Quality Foods Institute, the Rainforest Alliance, the Fair Trade Federation, the Organic Trade Association, the American Halal Association, and OU Kosher. Caroline Vogel, director of Quality and R&D, manages the lab.
Kim Cipriano, director of marketing, manages the consumer research site. It is a fully-equipped, consumer interviewing facility with dedicated moderator. The site has kitchen space to support sample preparation for consumer taste testing.
Olyha says Autocrat’s new resource will benefit customers in two ways.
“One way will be that Autocrat—acting on our own initiative—will pro-actively bring new products solutions to the customer,” he says. “The other way will be that Autocrat joins with the customer’s team from the beginning to conduct brainstorming that leads to collaborative development of new product solutions. In either situation, having both the R&D Lab and the consumer research site here together is a real advantage. It means we can do more for our customers, do it better, and do it faster.” – Autocrat Natural Ingredients, www.autocrat.com