The company behind brands like Kettle Brand, Pop Secret, Emerald Nuts and Diamond of California started construction on the center last week with a view to it being operational by February or March, 2015.
“Historically, the company has not had a centralized innovation function or team. In the past year, we have been building up the team and establishing our processes while launching new products. The innovation center is the next step on our journey,” said Holly Mensch, Diamond Foods VP of research, development and innovation.
“The innovation center is designed to become the hub for new product and packaging development across the company. It provides a home for the cross-functional innovation team and provides us with a space to meet all the needs associated with developing and delivering the pipeline,” Mensch told BakeryandSnacks.com.
Set to pop out
The 7,000-square-foot center will be located next to the Kettle Brand production site in Salem, Oregon.
The extra space will have four core functions including an R&D kitchen and lab, a sensory room used for product design and evaluation, a concept room also used for customer meetings and office space for the innovation team.
“Our goal in creating the Diamond Foods innovation center is to deliver on the company’s growth agenda. The company is aggressively pursuing innovation across all four of our brands and this provides us with a dedicated facility with all the tools needed to identify and design new products and packaging.”
"We are focusing on innovation on all fronts – flavors, formats and packaging and the new facility gives us more space and equipment to do our work more efficiently and space to immediately test with consumers."
Environmental impact considered
Kathy Berg, of ZGF Architects who designed the center said the two-story building would create an innovative space that aligns with the company’s mission to minimize impact on the environment.
"The building form is shaped by a correlation to a majestic oak tree, to allow offices and other rooms to maximize views of the restored and expanded wetland in Salem," she added.