Nestle Announces New Product Technology Center in Ohio

$53 million investment to focus on frozen and chilled foods

Published in CSP Daily News

SOLON, Ohio -- Nestle SA will invest $53 million to establish a new building that will expand the existing R&D facility in Solon, Ohio. The new center will be designated as a global Product Technology Center (PTC), dedicated to frozen and chilled foods research, and will serve Nestle's businesses worldwide.

The new building will be located on 18 acres in a park-like setting off of Solon's Cannon Road. The glass-faced facility will house offices and labs for approximately 100 scientific, professional and technical staff. The 144,000-square-foot building also will include a pilot plant where new recipes and the latest technologies will be tested and evaluated. Construction is expected to begin this summer and Nestle expects the new facility to be operational in late 2014.

The decision to expand the research and development capabilities in Solon reflects the growth in size and complexity of Nestle's frozen and chilled food businesses. Nestle dominates U.S. frozen food with its well-known brands leading in their various categories.

"We are pleased that the R&D effort first established in Solon in 2001 to serve our regional needs has matured into a global [PTC]. We currently operate 11 [PTCs] around the world. PTC Solon will become the twelfth of these important centers of excellence for Nestle. Here we will establish a critical mass of technology expertise and product knowledge for our global Nestle frozen and chilled foods business," said Johannes Baensch, Nestle's global head of research and development.

Sean Westcott will serve as director of the new PTC in Solon. Mr. Westcott, a veteran Nestle employee, is an expert in leading product innovation, operations and quality control teams. He replaces former Head Roberto Reniero, who with his team, gained rezoning approval from the Solon community in 2011, and designed the facility to comply with Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) standards. In March, Reniero completed his assignment in the United States and was named Head of PTC Lisieux in France, the Nestle center of excellence for chilled dairy products and healthy drinks.

"We are committed to what we do at PTC Solon because this is the place where we combine cutting-edge innovation with deep awareness of consumer needs and preferences," Westcott said. "Our chefs, food scientists, nutritionists and operations experts work side-by-side with the various Nestle businesses we support to create foods that are more delicious, wholesome and satisfying."

The PTC will join other major Nestle facilities in Solon, including Nestle Prepared Foods Co. In April 2012, the company moved its Hot Pockets and Lean Pockets brands from Denver to Solon. The company operates 11 U.S. manufacturing facilities and employs more than 8,800 people committed to making food of exceptional quality which is then frozen for the convenience of the consumer.

In addition to its frozen and refrigerated brands, Nestle Prepared Foods Co. also markets Nestle Toll House baking ingredients, Nestle Carnation Milks and Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin.

More than 5,000 people are involved in Nestle Research & Development either through 34 R&D facilities (three Science & Research centers and 31 PTCs and R&D centers) or 300 Application Groups around the world.

In addition to Nestle PTC Solon, Nestle operates another PTC in Marysville, Ohio, which specializes in ready-to-drink beverage development, premium coffee and tea.

The Nestle Quality Assurance Center (NQAC) is located in nearby Dublin, Ohio, It serves as the lead Quality Assurance Center for Nestle in the Americas.

Brands of Vevey, Switzerland-based Nestle include Nestle Toll House, Nestle Nesquik, Nestle Coffee-Mate, Stouffer's, Lean Cuisine, Hot Pockets and Lean Pockets, Nescafe, Nestle Juicy Juice, Buitoni, Dreyer's/Edy's, Nestle Crunch, Nestle Butterfinger, Wonka, Digiorno, Tombstone, California Pizza Kitchen and Jack's.