Sara Lee’s New Kitchen

Sara Lee Corp., for years based in Chicago, still is getting situated in suburban Downers Grove, Ill.

By Dave Fusaro, Editor in Chief

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Its big project for this year is clustering various R&D functions in existing (leased) buildings and offices around the new corporate headquarters. While officials are not divulging the precise cost, "The Kitchens of Sara Lee" will be a multi-million dollar effort.

Totaling about 150,000 sq. ft., the buildings will include culinary facilities; product, packaging and equipment development and testing; sensory services; a pilot plant; analytical and micro labs; and product training facilities. When complete, expected in early 2009, they will mark the first time all the company’s North American research and development activities are housed in a single location.

Currently, 100 people work in R&D at Sara Lee, but employment at the new facility will increase to approximately 150 people developing new products for Sara Lee’s bakery, meat, coffee, sauces and dressing product lines.

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