Sara Lee Frozen Bakery opened a 10,000-square-foot R&D innovation center and test kitchen at its Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., headquarters location. The newly constructed Kitchens of Sara Lee facility will focus on the innovation and expansion of new flavors and product lines.

“The Kitchens of Sara Lee is a milestone in our journey to becoming the world’s most beloved bakery,” says Craig Bahner, chief executive officer. “This new collaborative space brings our culinary experts together with our sales and marketing team to accelerate our product innovation, anticipate new trends and create many more irresistible foods for our customers for years to come.”  

For the first time in more than 10 years, the marketing and product development teams will work side-by-side with twice the amount of resources dedicated to Sara Lee Frozen Bakery’s brands. The innovation center features a fully equipped test kitchen, lab, storage and presentation space and is custom designed for customer showcase and co-collaboration.

Newly appointed research and development director Judy Lindsey leads a team of product innovators and culinary experts that has doubled in size since Sara Lee Frozen Bakery became an independent company in July 2018.

“Our team has a singular focus on frozen baked goods,” says Lindsey. “We now have an incredible kitchen and lab where we can transform fresh ideas into new products and packaging faster and better than ever before. With a space designed for close collaboration with our customers, we will continue to grow and innovate our company’s premier brands.”

The opening of The Kitchens of Sara Lee marks the end of a 5-month construction project, led by Morgan Harbour Construction, Willowbrook, Ill. EWP Architects, Oak Brook, Ill., redesigned and optimized the space to create a fully equipped kitchen, lab, storage, freezer and collaborative space to replicate, refine and innovate product offerings in the new facility.