Amid evolving consumer taste preferences and an upward shift in snacking behaviors, Hostess Brands has opened a new, world-class Innovation Lab to support the Company’s ongoing commitment to crowd-pleasing product innovation. Located in Lenexa, Kansas, the Hostess Innovation Lab employs around 20 researchers, product testers and bakers whose mission is to create new snack cakes that resonate with consumers and bring moments of joy to daily life.
The new facility builds upon the legacy of innovation of the Hostess brand which includes not just the recent introduction of several blockbuster new products—including Hostess Iced Lemon CupCakes and Pumpkin Spice Twinkies—but also classic Twinkies, which are in fact an innovation on the original recipe which was a banana crème-filled sponge cake.
“The Hostess Innovation Lab enables product innovation to the highest level of consumer delight, ensuring that the most desired products are going to market with the utmost quality and sustainability,” said Darryl Riley, Hostess’s SVP of Quality, Food Safety and R&D. “The Innovation Lab gives us the testing capabilities, analytics and market research insights we need to support innovation that meets consumer needs and expectations—such as the Hostess Hot Fudge Sundae CupCakes recently conceived and tested for early 2021 production. As the category leader, we take it upon ourselves to make a sustained investment in this consumer-centric area of our business.”
Through the lab, sensory booth and focus group areas, the Hostess Innovation Lab provides an inspirational testing center for Hostess Brands to develop new product prototypes, and then test those prototypes through custom-built sensory booths and a focus group room where consumer advocates are invited to participate in the process. The experimentation conducted in the lab harnesses the power of consumer insights and is a unique opportunity for passionate snack cake fans to inform product development. Through the data collected, Hostess Brands can then bring consumers inventive, high-quality products that perform well on store shelves in an efficient, quick-to-market manner that accommodate the needs of retail partners.
“The Innovation Lab expands our ability to accelerate the speed at which we bring new products to market, meanwhile deepening our innovation roster and ensuring that these newest additions to our brand portfolio are fan favorites for many years to come,” added Riley. “For consumers, the Innovation Lab also provides a peek behind the curtain, as well as an opportunity to be a part of that process, demonstrating our commitment to consumer insight-based product invention.”