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

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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