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Kellogg Co. late last month held a dedication ceremony to celebrate the completed expansion of its W.K. Kellogg Institute for Food and Nutrition Research, the nerve center for the iconic Battle Creek, Mich.-based manufacturer’s worldwide product development, research and innovation initiatives. Elected officials, community leaders and Kellogg executives attended the event for the $54 million, 157,000-square-foot pilot plant and office space.
“The W.K. Kellogg Institute is one of the premier product development centers in the industry,” noted Margaret Bath, Kellogg’s VP research, quality and technology. “In the past 12 years since we held the grand opening ceremony for this facility, we have built Special K into a global brand by introducing Special K protein meal bars, snack bars, waters and shakes, as well as crackers and hugely popular cereal varieties like Red Berries and Blueberry. We’ve also reduced sugar and sodium in many of our products, added fiber to our most popular children’s cereals, and led the industry in front-of-pack nutrition labeling with our Guideline Daily Amounts. If we’ve achieved all these innovations while spread out in four locations across town, imagine what awaits us now that we can just walk across the hall.”
The facility now boasts nearly 400,000 square feet dedicated to product development, including innovation labs, research facilities, a flexible experimental production area and an enhanced pilot plant. The expansion allows the company’s researchers and technical experts to interact more effectively and roll out new products sooner. In all, the pilot plant received an additional 87,000 square feet, while the office space nearly doubled, with another l70,000 square feet.
“The synergies we will gain from this expanded facility will be realized in new product renovations and innovations that further strengthen our company’s reputation for building great brands and delighting consumers with high-quality, nutritious and great-tasting foods,” said Kellogg president and CEO David Mackay.
“This move also demonstrates Kellogg Co.’s continued commitment to environmental sustainability,” added Mackay. “The expansion … is LEED certified by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Among other things, the expanded facility features a white roof to reduce the heat load, and more than 700 tons of construction waste was recycled.”
Since the institute’s opening in 1997, Kellogg has seen net sales double from $6 billion to almost $13 billion. In 2008, 15 percent of sales — about $2 billion — came from new products introduced in the past three years.