Nestlé celebrated the opening its new Nestlé Research & Development Center in Solon, OH, on July 22 and marked the completion of the $50 million, two-year project. The 144,000-square-foot facility—Nestlé R&D Solon—will sustain the company’s global needs, as well as affirms its commitment to frozen and chilled foods worldwide.

“Few areas of research are as complex as food research,” says Johannes Baensch, head of global product & technology development, Nestec Ltd. “Nestlé has a long-standing reputation for excellence in research on food and nutrition, and this research center is regarded as one of the world’s leading laboratories in food and life sciences. By creating Nestlé R&D Solon, we are transporting a significant piece of our global research expertise to the United States, our largest global market.”

In addition to developing R&D strategy for Nestlé’s worldwide frozen and chilled foods businesses, the experts at Nestlé R&D Solon will focus on product innovation and renovation that both meet Nestlé’s Nutrition Foundation requirements and balance taste with nutrition, by exploring ways to reduce sodium and saturated fat, eliminate partially hydrogenated oils, incorporate more vegetables, and create gluten-free and high-protein options. The team will also provide technical assistance to Nestlé production facilities around the world, as well as guidance in the areas of nutrition, food processing, food quality and food safety. Incorporated into the design is a pilot plant where the latest technology advancements and new recipes can be evaluated and refined for introduction into the marketplace.

Nestlé R&D Solon houses 120 chefs, consumer researchers, packaging specialists, designers, engineers and scientists; more than 40 employees have joined the center since the project was announced in 2013. It is one of 12 centers for global product and process development.