Cargill Incorporated, Minneapolis, said it plans this Friday, July 15, to officially open its $14.7 millionCargill Innovation Center(pictured left) in Wichita, Kan.

“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,” said Scott Eilert, vice president of research and development.  “As the name implies, this facility and the people who work here are all about innovation that makes a difference to our customers and consumers who buy from them. We take pride in helping our customers succeed, as well as feeding a world population with an increasing appetite for nutritious, quality, flavorful, safe and affordable protein.”

Officials say the 75,000-square-foot innovation center is located one block away from the headquarters of several Cargill businesses it supports, which include the second largest beef processor in the U.S., third largest turkey processor and forth largest pork processor, in addition to a business that serves the foodservice industry, another that distributes food to small retailers, one that is responsible for much of the ground beef Americans eat and another that produces case-ready products for retail customers.

The innovation center also works closely with several other Cargill businesses such as its salt, egg, dressings, sauces, oils and food ingredients groups.

Cargill said theoperation houses research, development, culinary, laboratory, pilot plant and distribution capabilities and will employ about 70 people.

Campbell Soup Company, Camden, N.J., said it expects by next fall to complete a $30 million-plus expansion to itsPepperidge Farmfacilities in Norwalk, Conn. Officials say the project includes a 34,000-square-foot innovation center as well as "extensive upgrading" to Pepperidge Farm's headquarters.

Campbell said it wants to increase the rate of innovation across its Baking and Snacking portfolio, the company's second-largest reporting segment, which includes both its Pepperidge Farm unit and Arnott's in Asia Pacific. The business includes Pepperidge Farm frozen desserts, breads and Ecce Panis frozen artisan breads.

"Having an innovation center at our headquarters in Norwalk will deliver many benefits to our business, including accelerated innovation," said Pat Callaghan, Pepperidge Farm president. "It will enable us to conduct research and testing of new product concepts in a much more convenient and cost-effective way and will support greater innovation for both our Bakery and Snacks units, especially as we continue to focus on global baked snacks as a strategic priority. In sum, the new facility will allow us to continue answering the question that Pepperidge Farm Founder Margaret Rudkin was famous for asking: 'What's Next?'"

Once the new facility is completed, Pepperidge Farm's headquarters will include approximately 115,000 square feet of office and research and development space, officials said.