Pinnacle Foods opens pilot plant at Rutgers Univ.

June 12, 2014

Pinnacle Foods Inc. has opened an R&D pilot plant at Rutgers University. The pilot plant, designed for Pinnacle’s Duncan Hines Grocery Division, which includes brands like 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, Senior Vice President 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 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.

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.

Press release