The 75,000-square-foot center, which is focused on meat products, employs 70 staff.
The research and development labs focus on food safety and quality, while culinary kitchens will be used for the development of new products. A pilot plant allows operational and technical teams to develop new products and evaluate new technologies that could potentially be employed at the company's full-size plants.
There is also a food distribution center for the local area, primarily serving smaller grocery stores.
Where the art and science of food intersect
Staff at the new center, which is a block away from Cargill’s beef, turkey and pork processing facilities in Wichita, will work closely with Cargill’s salt, egg, dressings, sauces, oils and food ingredients groups, said vice president of research and development Scott Eilert.
“This is a discovery zone, a place where the art and science of food intersect to advance food quality, nutrition, meat production, food safety and packaging, while also employing a creative flair in the areas of new product development and finding solutions to meet our customers’ needs and expectations.
“This is the crown jewel of meat oriented food innovation centers currently found in the US. It is where whatever is next in the way of food innovation is created and, as such, we eagerly look forward to our customers visiting Wichita to experience this very special place we built to serve them better.”
The Wichita facility comes hot on the heels of the opening of Cargill’s $12.6m innovation center in Campinas, Brazil, which includes laboratories for flavors, application development and sensory analysis.