Sensient Flavors has officially inaugurated its 40,000-square-foot pilot plant capabilities in Carpentersville, a suburb of Chicago. The multi-million-dollar facility represents the company’s ongoing commitment to research and development, innovation and customer collaboration.

“This facility is an extension of our Innovation Hub, which greatly improves our ability and capacity to help our customers speed up their product development process,” said Sensient sweet and beverage flavors general manager Steve Morris, who spoke at the opening ceremony. “Our goal was to design and build a facility where our customers can develop concepts using our flavors and colors into finished products they can show their customers.”

Sensient purchased the facility, at 830 Commerce Parkway, last year. The company plans a gradual, three- to five-year build-out featuring a full range of R&D equipment and capabilities.

“The first phase is a state-of-the-art, continuous ice cream system that enables our customers to replicate full-scale productions,” said Bill Smith, Sensient’s global director of R&D and innovation.

The next phase planned for the facility is a natural extracts pilot plant. “Our goal for the site is to foster a collaborative environment with customers across a wide variety of food and beverage segments and provide the space to explore innovative new technologies at a pilot plant scale. The new site will also provide valuable space for internal collaborations between Sensient’s Flavor and Color businesses as we explore technology that help our customers across all aspects of their product development.”