Bakers Journal

News
Maple Leaf unveils food innovation centre


October 7, 2009
By CNW Group

NEWS HIGHLIGHT

Maple Leaf unveils food innovation centre

Maple Leaf Food recently revealed its ThinkFOOD! Centre, a
state-of-the-art culinary innovation facility and the only one of its kind in
Canada.

Oct. 7, 2009 – Maple Leaf Food recently revealed its ThinkFOOD! Centre, a
state-of-the-art culinary innovation facility and the only one of its kind in
Canada.



It offers an holistic approach to creative thinking
and collaboration to facilitate accelerated innovation and growth across Maple
Leaf's global bakery and protein businesses.

The
centre will be the hub where company experts in product development, brand
innovation, food education, customer relationship development, consumer
research and global trend tracking come together to share new product ideas and
identify joint opportunities to bring innovation to life.


"We've
created an innovative environment where all of our food innovators can work
together under one roof in collaboration with customers and increase the
speed-to-market for introducing exciting new food ideas from around the
world," said Michael McCain, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods.
"ThinkFOOD! is a place where we draw inspiration from a global food basket
of ideas and innovate to create products that will delight the palates of our
consumers and customers."

Advertisment

The
$12 million centre occupies 25,000 square feet on the campus of Maple Leaf's
corporate offices in Mississauga, Ont., and operates as the company's product
development hub, supporting customer research and product testing. ThinkFOOD!
was designed to provide a central hands-on learning environment where employees
can develop, share and collaborate on new food concepts with foodservice and
retail customers.

"ThinkFOOD!
represents Maple Leaf's commitment to innovation, a key underpinning of our
growth strategy," said McCain. "The centre is a hub for
collaboration on great food and menu ideas, and a place where our employees are
empowered to inspire, innovate and grow new areas to satisfy consumer tastes
and build on our company culture that is passionate about food."

The
centre's culinary amenities include presentation kitchens, teaching and
demonstration facilities, research labs, product development and sensory
testing areas, simulated retail environments, and trends resource library.
Highlights include:

  • Open Kitchen, a dedicated area for product development
    specialists to develop and test new technologies, processes and products.
  • Back of House Kitchen, a dedicated food service
    demonstration kitchen, allows Maple Leaf to collaborate with food service customer on
    product development in an environment that can be replicated to mirror the customer's own facilities.
  • Kitchen Stage, a retail demonstration kitchen,
    provides the opportunity for direct customer involvement in the product development process.
  • Marketplace offers a simulated retail environment with
    refrigerated display units, bakery racks and a full service deli counter. Here Maple Leaf can work with retail customers on merchandising and shelf planning as well as category and department strategies.
  • Innovation and development labs that allow innovators
    to develop product from both raw and cooked stages through to packaging, in an environment that meets regulatory standards.

ThinkFOOD!
is home to nearly 60 employees, including internationally trained chefs, culinary food scientists, microbiologists, home economists, environmental technologists, and biologists.

Maple
Leaf has also launched a new website, www.mapleleaf.com, which delivers an improved
online experience for consumers. The rich consumer experience provides a
virtual market of wonderful food and great tasting meal solutions offered by
Maple Leaf Foods with tips and solutions from Company experts represented by
the Butcher, Baker, Pasta Maker and Meals Made Easy.