The Oregon-based center – announced back in October 2014 – spans 7,000 sq. ft. and is located next to the Kettle Brand potato chip factory.
Holly Mensch, vice president of innovation at Diamond Foods, said the center’s location would be a “huge benefit” to the firm.
Being close to large-scale production, she said, would better enable Diamond’s product developers to understand how potatoes are handled, run trials and have more cohesiveness as a team.
Finding new flavors
Mensch told BakeryandSnacks.com the main feature of the center was the R&D kitchen, which allowed the company to produce product samples and simulate preparation processes before going into mass production
In particular, Diamond Foods would continue its flavor NPD work, she said, which looked at different tastes, processing techniques, ingredients and forms before narrowing down what could be successful.
Kettle Brand Pepperoncini, Dill Pickle flavored chops and Emerald Raspberry Glazed almonds, she said, had all been developed with this strategy.
“The response has been overwhelming. One of our newest launches for Kettle Brand, Pepperoncini Chips, is taking the world by storm,” she said. “It is getting lots of social media buzz and is quickly becoming a fan favorite.”
Mensch said the center converged teams within the company – something that should drive early-stage collaboration to help carefully develop products that meet new needs across the market for all of its brands. It also meant teams could hear from each discipline within the company during the creative, front-end of the process in an effort to give a better customer experience from the start.
Last year, she told this site that historically, Diamond Foods had not had a centralized innovation function or team but the center would change that.