Pinnacle foods opens pilot plant at Rutgers University

In support of its mission to Reinvigorate Iconic Brands, Pinnacle Foods Inc. (NYSE: PF) opened an R&D pilot plant at Rutgers University. The pilot plant, designed for Pinnacle's Duncan Hines Grocery Division, which includes brands such as Duncan Hines®, Vlasic®, Wish-Bone®, Mrs. Butterworth's® and Log Cabin®, will enable the company to increase its R&D capabilities, scale up learnings for commercialization, further support brand renovation and productivity and improve speed to market.

"We have been on a continuous mission to strengthen our R&D capabilities. The pilot plant is one more step in increasing our technical rigor," said Steve Gunther, SVP of R&D at Pinnacle.  "We'll be able to execute experimental designs across our brands, studying various ingredient, process and package interactions without impacting our manufacturing facilities."

The pilot plant at Rutgers Food Innovation Center-North, located in Piscataway, is the first university-affiliated pilot site for Pinnacle.  It expands the company's existing relationship with the institution that began last year through an undergraduate internship program.  Through the expanded collaboration, Pinnacle will leverage the technologies of the University, partner with the Food Science, Packaging and Engineering departments and have the opportunity to sponsor specific graduate research work to benefit both student learning and the company.

"This is a great opportunity for Rutgers University's Food Innovation Center-North and students; we are very excited to partner with Pinnacle as it reinvigorates iconic brands," said Margaret Brennan-Tonetta, associate vice president for economic development at Rutgers.

Fitted with equipment, the pilot plant will enable Pinnacle to replicate existing production processes at its Grocery Division plants and conduct consumer testing.  Additionally, Pinnacle will be able to evaluate various process changes outside the plant environment and bring in equipment for testing. The plant is a USDA and FDA-inspected facility that will comply with Pinnacle's quality, safety, training and standard operating protocols.

[Source: Pinnacle Foods Inc., June 10, 2014]