A new R&D ‘kitchen’ for Sara Lee

Sara Lee Corp. in late January unveiled plans for "The Kitchens of Sara Lee," a multi-million dollar research and development campus to be located adjacent to the company's year-old corporate headquarters in Downers Grove, Ill.

The 150,000-square-foot group of buildings will support innovation activities for North American foodservice and retail businesses and will be completed in early 2009.

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.

The Kitchens of Sara Lee 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 the new facility is completed, it will mark the first time all the company's North American research and development activities are housed in a single location.

"Every member of our organization is committed to developing, marketing and distributing innovative products as the primary way to drive our company's growth," said Chairman/CEO Brenda Barnes.

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