AdvancePierre Foods opened a customer innovation and research center, a combination of lab space and meeting rooms that brings the R&D food labs and test kitchens to customers.

“The new, interactive space complements AdvancePierre’s integrated product development process, facilitating enhanced cooperation between R&D, consumer insights, marketing and sales, all while engaging customers at the most critical junctures in the product development process,” says Bernie Panchot, senior vice president of research and development.

Co-located within the Cincinnati processing facility, the innovation and research center allows all factions of a team to work alongside customers by providing dedicated spaces for idea concepting and refinement; food preparation – ensuring raw ingredients are isolated from ready-to-eat products; and testing. The center houses a sandwich and bakery lab, meat lab, processing lab, customer kitchen with adjoining conference room, additional meeting spaces, walk-in pantries, coolers and freezers and a receiving room. In addition, the space incorporates a sensory lab in which internal screened testers evaluate products.

“Customer satisfaction goes far beyond great-tasting products,” Panchot adds. “It’s about trend-forward thinking, responsiveness, cost management, speed to market and consistency. It’s about identifying opportunities and solving the problems customers face, whether in a foodservice operator’s kitchen or in a grocery or convenience store setting. Heightened customer intimacy and collaboration empower us to detect these opportunities and to better solve these problems, ultimately, delivering an experience our customers will crave.”

AdvancePierre’s innovation and research center utilizes home and commercial microwave ovens, steam-heating ovens, turbo chef-style ovens, convection ovens, grills and fryers to closely mirror how customers and consumers prepare products.