Baking & Snack - June 2018 - 128

featured innovation center

Often it takes a deep dive to plunge into an unknown ocean of
new product opportunities. For bakers and snack producers, exploring the endless possibilities for innovation beneath the surface
may also require them to navigate a sea of changes to their standard product development processes. For Kerry, engagement and
discovery form the foundation for its Taste & Nutrition Discovery
Center (TNDC), where chefs recently developed beer-based
cupcakes, everything bagel-seasoned donuts and even crunchy
brownie hummus bites to reflect the company's comprehensive
approach to creative concept thinking.
Located at Kerry's US headquarters in Beloit, WI, the TNDC interactively delves into the food and beverage industry by combining consumer insights with food science and application expertise.
"This discovery is done by immersing our customers in current marketplace trends and enabling them to view the industry
through the eyes of the consumer," noted Jordan Miller, brand
manager, Kerry Americas Region.
The 4,800-sq-ft TNDC is comprised of an engagement room
and discovery center where Kerry's team of experts work to educate food companies, retailers and restaurant chains about the science of taste and nutrition. A typical 1- to 2-day ideation session
starts with setting expectations followed by brainstorming. The
engagement room features multiple touch-screen monitors, an
ideation lounge and white tables and glass walls to jot down notes
and sketch out thoughts that transform into ideas.
"It's a great place for collaboration and to ideate around new
concepts or extensions of current concepts," noted Courtney

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Schumacher, marketing specialist, bakery. "It's a space to fully embrace that cross-functional team collaboration between our customers' experts and our counterparts at Kerry."
Kerry may bring in expertise from its global counterparts.
"We'll reach out to our bakers in Asia and Europe and gather samples that are related or loosely related but might fit into a specific
trend to spur further brainstorming," said John Schmitz, research
scientist, bakery research, development & applications.
In the discovery center, an interactive screen takes up an entire
30-ft. surround wall to provide a backbone of research on overarching trends such as clean label, convenience and nutrition.
Here, the dive is supported by reams of market data on baking and
snack categories along with a wealth of custom-developed consumer insights categorized by specific ethnic groups, generations
and other demographics.
"We have content built around several market categories as well
as the consumer," said Sian Cunningham, marketing insights analyst. "We want to make sure it's a really tailored engagement, so
our customers get the most out of their day."
Kerry just completed a propriety research project gauging 700
consumers' understanding of clean label. "The consumers - their
attitudes, opinions, need states and how they identify themselves
- are the basis of everything that we do," Ms. Cunningham said.
"What drives their preferences and behaviors?"
The TNDC also features a full plug-and-play kitchen where
Kerry's chefs create a best-in-class lunch to demonstrate menu concepts, sample product prototypes and taste flavor options using the

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Baking & Snack - June 2018