Diamond Foods opens State-of-the-Art Innovation Center

Diamond Foods opens State-of-the-Art Innovation Center
July 15, 2015
Strengthening its commitment to product innovation and market leadership, Diamond Foods, Inc. has officially opened the doors to its new 7,000+ square foot innovation center in Salem, Oregon. Adjacent to the Kettle Brand® potato chip facility, the innovation center will drive new product offerings for Diamond's entire family of brands, including Kettle Brand®, Pop Secret®, Emerald® Nuts and century-old Diamond of California®.

The new center features an R&D kitchen and lab that allows for production of product samples and simulates preparation processes, as well as a concept room designed for ideation and customer meetings and a sensory evaluation center for real-time product testing with consumers. Already the team is finalizing products that will soon be in the marketplace, on the heels of recent launches that include Kettle Brand Pepperoncini and Dill Pickle flavored potato chips, and Emerald Raspberry Glazed almonds.

Diamond's team of innovation specialists were carefully selected with the goal of creating a true product design house, including not only food scientists and sensory specialists, but also marketing, packaging and regulatory experts who develop product ideas through the lens of all the disciplines. This early stage collaboration is designed to enable the team to carefully develop products that meet consumers' needs while also facilitating speed to market. The cross-functional team supports innovation across Diamond's entire family of snack and nut brands.

"We are not just putting a stake in the ground, but an entire foundation and infrastructure committed to innovation and market leadership, as well as an experienced forward-thinking team to take advantage of it," said Brian Driscoll, Diamond Foods president and CEO. "Several retail customers have already visited the innovation center for joint collaboration meetings and recognize the potential for new product development this facility and the team affords."

Diamond Foods worked with the Portland, Oregon office of ZGF Architects, which designed the building not only to provide a state-of-the-art research and development facility, but to reflect the surrounding natural habitat. The building is clad in natural, steam-treated pine and Douglas fir on the exterior and the façade folds inward to provide shade and daylight based on sun direction. An energy-conscious ventilation system and other features reduce energy consumption, and custom-designed rain gardens manage waste and storm water run-off to help preserve the nearby wetland.