Vevey / CH. (nsa) Nestle S.A. will invest 53 million USD 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 Product Technology Center. We currently operate eleven Product Technology Centers 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.
While the new PTC will serve Nestle business units worldwide, the the PTC will also continue to support domestic brands. Sean Westcott will serve as Director of the new PTC in Solon. 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 and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. In March, Reniero completed his assignment in the U.S. 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».
«We are extremely grateful for the support we´ve received from Mayor Susan Drucker and the City of Solon, from Govenor Kasich and Jobs Ohio and particularly from the community itself, which demonstrated its support with an 85 percent approval when we requested rezoning», Westcott added.
The PTC will join other major Nestle facilities in Solon, including Nestle Prepared Foods Company, an important employer in the city since it was first established there in 1968. Led today by President + CEO Frank Higgins, the business employs more than 1’900 in its offices and production facility. In April 2012, the company moved its ‘Hot Pockets’ and ‘Lean Pockets’ brands from Denver to Solon. The company operates eleven manufacturing facilities in the U.S. 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 Company also markets Baking Ingredients, Carnation Milks and Lippy´s 100 percent Pure Pumpkin.
About Nestle Research + Development
Nestle operates the largest Research + Development network of any food company in the world. Over 5’000 people are involved in Nestle Research + Development either through 34 R+D facilities (three Science + Research centers and 31 Product Technology Centers and R+D centers) or 300 Application Groups around the world.
In addition to Nestle PTC Solon, Nestle operates another Product Technology Center in Marysville, Ohio which specializes in ready-to-drink beverage development, premium coffee and tea. Over 250 employees are based there, providing expertise in beverage science, packaging and technology.
The Nestle Quality Assurance Center (NQAC) is located in nearby Dublin, Ohio where 150 professional and technical staff—including chemists, microbiologists, food scientists, quality specialists and support staff—provide specialized laboratory services to Nestle clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week. NQAC Dublin serves as the lead Quality Assurance Center for Nestle in the Americas.