New R&D Centers
Prepared Foods presents a coast-to-coast collection of food and beverage processors’ innovation center projects.
Company: Blue Diamond Growers
Category: Snacks (nuts, crackers), Almond Milk
Capital investment: N.A.
Completion/Location: March 2013, Sacramento, Calif.
Description: Blue Diamond, an almond growers’ co-op, renovated former offices and created a 6,500-sq-ft “Almond Innovation Center” at its Sacramento headquarters. The facility supports new retail product prototypes and supports Blue Diamond’s industrial business.
Comment: “Global almond product innovation has doubled Blue Diamond revenues in three years to well over $1 billion in sales,” says president & CEO Mark Jansen. “The robustness of U.S. almond shipments, even with this year’s short supply, is directly attributable to new uses for almonds that our cooperative has created.”
Company: Bolthouse Farms (Campbell Soup)
Category: Carrots, Juices/Drinks, Dressings
Capital investment: $5 million
Completion/Location: January 2013, Bakersfield, Calif.
Description: The 17,900-sq-ft innovation center in Bakersfield houses test kitchens and a sensory center and is staffed by as many as 40 product developers. Bolthouse says it expects the facility to help it increase new product introductions and enter new categories.
Comment: “The Innovation Center is a fitting next step toward ‘Inspiring the Fresh Revolution’ as it enables us to further enhance how healthier foods, beverages and snacks are developed and marketed,” says Jeff Dunn, Bolthouse Farms CEO. “Our investment in consumer research and new innovations in food science will enable us to attract additional world-class talent to increase consumers’ access to high-quality, nutritious and affordable products.”
Company: OSI Group, LLC
Category: Meats (Beef, Pork, Poultry), Prepared Foods
Capital investment: N.A.
Completion/Location: First Quarter 2014, Aurora, Ill.
Description: OSI Group is a global, $6 billion processor-supplier of beef, pork and poultry products to foodservice, private label and contract food customers. OSI renovated a 3,000-sq-ft section of its Aurora, Ill., corporate headquarters for a Culinary Innovation Center (CIC) in 2011. Now OSI expects to open a complete, 10,000-sq-ft R&D center off-site in Aurora. Officials say the new location has been renovated and equipped for use by nearly all of OSI’s U.S.-based food scientists, chefs and related researchers; and can accommodate OSI teams from abroad, as needed. It also will house a complete pilot plant with additional space for new process technologies that may be added.”
Comment: “In this new space, we will be able to incorporate each and every process capability we have in our plants,” says Dr. B.K. Girdhar, vice president of product development and technical services. “Over time, we also will select and test cutting-edge equipment that we may not yet have in place throughout the operation—but that could be considered for the future.”
Company: Pepperidge Farm (Campbell Soup Co.)
Category: Bakery/Snack (cookies, crackers, breads, desserts)
Capital expense: More than $30 million
Completion/Location: September 2012, Norwalk, Conn.
Description: The 34,000-sq-ft innovation center in Norwalk, Conn., features a contemporary design with a curved glass exterior. Officials say it houses a state-of-the-art pilot plant with product development and testing lines; culinary kitchens, including a “broadcast-type” culinary demonstration kitchen; and scientific labs and meeting rooms. The center was designed as an environmentally friendly, LEED-certified-“green” building.
Comment: “Campbell is committed to driving sustainable, profitable net sales growth through consumer-focused innovation,” says Denise Morrison, Campbell Soup president and CEO. “Our investment in the new Pepperidge Farm innovation center will help accelerate the rate of new product development across our Baking and Snacking portfolio. This new building is a visible recognition of Pepperidge Farm’s long history of successful innovation, as well as our commitment to delivering the next generation of new products for consumers.”
Company: Nestlé S.A.
Category: Prepared Foods (frozen prepared meals, entrees, sandwiches, snacks/pizza; refrigerated pastas, sauces, cookie dough)
Capital expense: $53 million
Completion/Location: Early 2015, Solon, Ohio
Description: The new 144,000-sq-ft Product Technology Center in Solon, Ohio, will be home to approximately 100 food scientists and other specialists. Officials say it houses a fully equipped pilot plant and supports global frozen and refrigerated product development efforts.
Comment: “We are committed to what we do at PTC Solon, because this is the place where we combine cutting-edge innovation with deep awareness of consumer needs and preferences,” says Sean Westcott, Product Technology Center director. “Our chefs, food scientists, nutritionists and operations experts work side-by-side with the various Nestlé businesses we support to create foods that are more delicious, wholesome and satisfying.”
Company: Schreiber Foods
Category: Dairy (cream cheese, natural cheese, yogurt products)
Capital expense: N.A.
Completion/Location: Fall 2014, Green Bay, Wis.
Description: Schreiber is building a Global Technology Center—followed by a new corporate world headquarters—in downtown Green Bay, Wis. The adjacent sites will house more than 550 employees.
Comment: “Our Global Technology Center will play an integral role in Schreiber’s mission to be the world’s leading customer-brand dairy company,” says Mike Haddad, Schreiber president and CEO. “It will be a state-of-the-art facility that will enhance our ability to deliver value for our customers by creating innovative new products and winning business solutions.”
Company: Snyder’s-Lance Inc.
Category: Snack/Bakery (pretzels, cookies, chips, crackers)
Capital expense: N.A.
Completion/Location: Fourth quarter, 2012, Hanover, Pa.
Description: Snyder’s-Lance, Charlotte, N.C., built its 60,000-sq-ft R&D Center in Hanover, Pa., near one of its largest bakeries. Officials say the new, three-story building meets LEED silver certification. Researchers will develop new and improved products across the company’s broad snack and bakery lines.
Comment: “This new center will allow us to build on our already great reputation for quality and innovation across our entire product portfolio, and I look forward to the new and innovative product platforms we’ll be able to develop there,” says Jim Butt, senior vice president of R&D and Quality.