Tyson 'Discovery Center' R&D Lab Fully Open

SPRINGDALE, Ark. -- Tyson Foods, Inc. has opened the Tyson Discovery Center, a research and development facility developed to help large retail customers, including c-stores, bring new food products to market more quickly, reducing the time from weeks to days.

The 100,000-square-foot, three-building complex, which opened in stages on Tyson's main headquarters campus between last fall and mid-January, includes a 36,000-square-foot facility housing 19 kitchens that can design food product for a range of retail and restaurant types, such as club units, foodservice, quickservice restaurants and convenience stores.

It also features a multi-protein USDA-inspected pilot production plant. The Center is Webcast-enabled for training sessions, and is staffed with 50 professionals with a range of expertise, Craig Bacon, Tyson's vice president of research and development, told CSNews Online in an exclusive interview. (CSNews Online is a sister Web site to Progressivegrocer.com.

"Speed to shelf is the goal," added Tyson Foods product manager Keith Solsvig.

Currently, Tyson said is inviting large retailers to the Discovery Center to tour the facility and get acquainted with its capabilities and services.

Features of the Center include: Meat Case of the Future for displaying meat and meal solutions; Foodservice Presentation Kitchen, with front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house production; Case Ready Kitchen; Packaging Innovation; Sensory Testing Area; and Consumer Kitchen that resembles today's home kitchen.

Wendy Davidson, Tyson's senior vice president, national account sales, discussed the Tyson Discovery Center during a presentation to analysts and investors in New York last fall. She noted: "I will tell you, for our national account customers, the ability to take something from ideation to market in the span of a week, for them to be able to test that in a particular store is an incredible advantage."
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