Conagra Brands Builds Snacking Innovation Center

Posted On: 9/5/2019

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CHICAGO -- Conagra Brands Inc. announced plans to build the Conagra Brands Center for Food Design in Chicago at 350 N. Orleans St., located next to its existing headquarters in The Merchandise Mart. The new 40,000 square foot innovation center is an expansion of the company's existing state-of-the-art research and development and culinary capabilities and will focus on innovation related to snacking, one of the fastest-growing occasions in food.

Conagra, whose brands include Slim Jim meat snacks and Boomchickapop popcorn said the facility will combine culinary and food and packaging design expertise in a space that enables rapid development of contemporary, on-trend products.

"Conagra Brands' $2 billion snacks business is one of the largest and fastest growing in the food industry," said Conagra Brands executive vice president and co-chief operating officer Tom McGough. "Our strong snacking portfolio is positioned for longterm growth and we expect the capabilities in this new facility to enable us to create even more innovative products that our consumers will love."

"The Conagra Brands Center for Food Design in Chicago will be a fresh, collaborative space with state-of-the-art capabilities to provide our talented team with the right resources to help grow Conagra's snacking business," Conagra Brands senior vice-president of research and development Corey Berends. "In addition, the expansive kitchen and tasting area will be an ideal place to collaborate with our customers and develop new food solutions."

The Conagra Brands Center for Food Design in Chicago is scheduled to officially open in the first quarter of calendar year 2020 and will house up to 50 employees, including food and packaging designers and members of the company's culinary team. Conagra Brands currently has approximately 550 people who work in The Merchandise Mart. Conagra Brands will continue to operate The Center for Food Design and Technology in Omaha, NE., which will focus on the company's expanded frozen, refrigerated, shelf-stable meals as well as condiments and enhancers. Omaha will also remain the R&D hub for the company's food safety, and technology development teams.