Nestlé S.A. will invest $53 million to establish a new building that will expand the existing Solon, Ohio, R&D facility. The new center will be designated as a global Product Technology Center (PTC), dedicated to frozen and chilled foods research worldwide.
Located on 18 acres in a park-like setting off of Solon's Cannon Road, the glass-faced facility will house offices and labs for approximately 100 scientific, professional and technical staff. The 144,000-square-foot building will also include a pilot plant where new recipes and the latest technologies will be tested and evaluated. Construction is expected to begin this summer; the new facility is expected to be operational late 2014.
"We are pleased that the R&D effort first established in Solon in 2001 to serve our regional needs has matured into a global Product Technology Center. We currently operate 11 Product Technology Centers around the world. PTC Solon will become the twelfth of these important centers of excellence for Nestlé. Here we will establish a critical mass of technology expertise and product knowledge for our global Nestlé frozen and chilled foods business," says Johannes Baensch, global head of research and development.
The new PTC will continue to support the following brands: STOUFFER'S and LEAN CUISINE prepared meals and snacks, HOT POCKETS and LEAN POCKETS sandwiches, BUITONI refrigerated pastas and sauces; NESTLE TOLL HOUSE refrigerated (and in test, frozen) cookie dough, as well as the DIGIORNO, CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN, TOMBSTONE and JACK'S brands of frozen pizza.
Sean Westcott will serve as director of the new PTC in Solon. Westcott, a veteran Nestlé employee, is an expert in leading product innovation, operations and quality control teams. He replaces former head Roberto Reniero, who designed the facility to comply with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. In March, Reniero completed his assignment in the United States and was named head of PTC Lisieux in France, the Nestlé center of excellence for chilled dairy products and healthy drinks.
"We are committed to what we do at PTC Solon because this is the place where we combine cutting-edge innovation with deep awareness of consumer needs and preferences," Westcott says. "Our chefs, food scientists, nutritionists and operations experts work side-by-side with the various Nestlé businesses we support to create foods that are more delicious, wholesome and satisfying."