The agrifoods giant has a network of facilities dedicated to bakery applications throughout North America - in Atlanta, GA, Portland, OR, and Toronto, ON. In Europe, it has a facility in Vilvoorde, Belgium. The centre, which opened for business in March, is to focus on new product development and R&D to provide bakers with solutions to complex technical challenges. It is staffed by team of food scientists with experience in grain-based products. Cargill's objective is for this team to collaborate with food manufacturers on-site on new product initiatives. Sheryl Stennett, Cargill bakery category vice president, said: "Our new product innovation center, along with the other facilities in our bakery application network, enhance Cargill´s ability to help customers create unique bakery products to fill product pipelines and reduce time to market." She said that Cargill aims to help its customers grow their business by giving them knowledge about the marketplace, new ingredient technology, and formulation and application capabilities. The company highlighted certain ingredients in which its team has expertise - and which can be used to differentiate baked goods, particularly along healthier lines. These include whole grains (for breads and for sweet goods), healthy fats and oils, fibers, sweeteners for lower-calorie products, and gluten-free products to tap the allergy market. Bill Atwell, bakery category technical leader, said that the launch of Cargill's product innovation center reflects the company's continuing investment in building its bakery category capabilities. Since Cargill is a privately-owned company and does not disclose full financial reports, the full level of investment in its bakery facilities is not known. However in full year 2007 the company - which has - reported group earnings of $2.34 bn, a 36 percent increase from $1.73 bn the year before. In communicating these results it said it that, in 2007, it "reinvested the majority of its cash flow in food ingredient and supply chain capabilities aimed at better serving customers in food, agriculture and risk management." Amongst the larger investments it counted new oilseed processing and refining capacity and corn sweetener capacity in China; expanded oilseed processing capacity in Argentina; and the acquisition of flour and grain businesses in Canada.