Sara Lee Corp. has opened a new 120,000-sq.ft. research and development campus at the company's Downers Grove, IL, headquarters complex. The new center houses more than a hundred R&D professionals, including chefs, scientists, engineers and packaging designers. This is the first time the company has had all of its North American food and beverage R&D capabilities under one roof.
The center includes a product testing facility called The Kitchens of Sara Lee. The testing center features packaging labs with rapid prototyping capabilities; meat labs that simulate Sara Lee plant processes to test product components and packaging prototypes before they enter full-scale production; a bakery pilot plant for better understanding of how formulas will translate to commercial-size facilities; foodservice kitchens with plug-and-play equipment that can be custom-arranged to replicate a quick-service restaurant or a foodservice operation; and sensory and product performance labs.