The Dannon Company, Inc.said it opened a new $9 million Dannon Discovery & Innovation Center at the company's White Plains, N.Y., headquarters. Officials say they expect the facility to increase collaboration between R&D and marketing, sourcing, supplier development and other functions that "impact innovation and speed of introduction of new products to market."

“The Dannon Discovery & Innovation Center is an unprecedented investment in people and technology designed to accelerate the growth of our business and that of our customers, the nation’s leading retailers,” said Gustavo Valle, Dannon president and CEO.

Officials say the Dannon Discovery & Innovation Center houses state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment, a sensory and consumer Insights lab, as well as labs for quality analysis and fruit and flavor. Most importantly, it houses Dannon’s R&D team, comprised of experts in the fields of science, sensory and consumer insights, packaging, fruit and flavor, and product formulation.

Dannon says its suppliers also have designated office space within the company’s headquarters to "accelerate collaboration, spur innovation and ensure integration at every stage of the development process."

“By physically bringing the R&D team closer to other core business functions, we will foster greater collaboration to accelerate pursuit of our mission - to bring health through food to as many people as possible,” said Albe Wendt, vice president, Research & Development, North America.