Maple Leaf Foods has opened a new C$12m (US$11.3m) innovation center in Ontario to concentrate on its bakery and protein businesses.
The ThinkFOOD! Center is a 25,000 square foot facility situated with the company’s corporate offices in Mississauga, Ontario and is intended to act as a hub for product development, consumer research, and global trend tracking, the company said.
President and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods Michael McCain said: “We've created an innovative environment where all of our food innovators can work together under one roof in collaboration with customers and increase the speed-to-market for introducing exciting new food ideas from around the world. ThinkFOOD! is a place where we draw inspiration from a global food basket of ideas and innovate to create products that will delight the palates of our consumers and customers."
Maple Leaf Foods said that the new center will incorporate product development and sensory testing areas, research laboratories, presentation kitchens, teaching and demonstration facilities, a simulation retail environment, and a trends resource library. The center employs 60 staff, including food scientists, chefs, microbiologists, home economists, and environmental technologists.
McCain said: “ThinkFOOD! represents Maple Leaf's commitment to innovation, a key underpinning of our growth strategy. The center is a hub for collaboration on great food and menu ideas, and a place where our employees are empowered to inspire, innovate and grow new areas to satisfy consumer tastes and build on our company culture that is passionate about food."
Maple Leaf Foods has also highlighted the environmental credentials of its new facility. It said that the building incorporates sustainable features in all five of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality.