The H.J. Heinz Co.’s Global Innovation and Quality Center will play a key role in future success - with the consumer packaged goods giant on track to launch as many as 200 new items during the next two years, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported. In an early January profile of Heinz, the Business Times visited the Heinz corporate R&D center in Warrendale, Pa. (suburban Pittsburgh) and noted that Heinz plans to derive 15 percent of fiscal year 2010 sales from products introduced during the preceding 36 months. The article also noted …

- Heinz will dial up its products’ “economic credentials” (price value) and “nutrition credentials” to survive the nation’s economic downturn;

- Consumer insights now drive all Heinz innovation efforts according to Jim Matthews, vice president of innovation and quality;

- The center employs about 200 researchers who work on Heinz brands in frozen retail meals, foodservice, condiments and sauces, infant nutrition and subsidiary businesses such as Classico pasta sauces;

- Warrendale researchers test as many as 500 recipes each year including new formulations for Weight Watchers Smart Ones, T.G.I. Friday’s frozen meals and Ore-Ida frozen potato and french fry products;

- Among Heinz’s latest successful new products is Ore-Ida Steam n’ Mash, a four-item line of microwaveable frozen mashed potatoes.