With distinctive sales channels, thousands of customers and millions of consumers enjoying its products for every eating occasion, AdvancePierre Foods’ business model is designed to make sure quality goals transcend quantity goals. Today, it’s underscoring this commitment to quality and the enrichment of the overall customer experience with the opening of a customer Innovation & Research Center, a combination of lab space and meeting rooms that brings the R&D food labs and test kitchens to customers, creating the best opportunities to develop the products needed to grow their businesses.
Bernie Panchot, AdvancePierre’s senior VP of research and development, emphasizes that customer collaboration is a guiding principle at AdvancePierre. “The new, interactive space complements AdvancePierre’s integrated product development process, facilitating enhanced cooperation between R&D, consumer insights, marketing and sales, all the while engaging customers at the most critical junctures in the product development process.”
Co-located with the Cincinnati processing facility, the Innovation & Research Center allows all factions of a team to work alongside customers in parallel by providing dedicated spaces for idea concepting and refinement; food preparation – ensuring raw ingredients are isolated from ready-to-eat products; and testing. The center houses a sandwich & bakery lab; meat lab; processing lab; customer kitchen with adjoining conference room; additional meeting spaces; walk-in pantries, coolers and freezers; and a receiving room. In addition, the space incorporates a sensory lab in which internal screened testers evaluate products to ensure foods deliver the desired taste and eating experience.
“Customer satisfaction goes far beyond great-tasting products,” Panchot reveals. “It’s about trend-forward thinking, responsiveness, cost management, speed to market and consistency. It’s about identifying opportunities and solving the problems customers face, whether in a foodservice operator’s kitchen or in a grocery or convenience store setting. Heightened customer intimacy and collaboration empower us to detect these opportunities and to better solve these problems, ultimately, delivering an experience our customers will crave.”
AdvancePierre’s Innovation & Research Center utilizes equipment from home and commercial microwave ovens and steam-heating ovens to turbo chef-style ovens, convection ovens, grills and fryers to closely mirror how customers and consumers prepare products.