Over the past few months, the West Wing of the James R. Randall Research Center in Decatur, IL has transformed into the cutting-edge Food Application Center. The 25,000 square foot addition boasts a new customer innovation center, a beverage lab, a bake lab, an ingredient development lab and a dry lab, all under one roof. The goal of the new facility isn't just to have ADM's team of researchers using state-of-the-art equipment to analyze ingredients and their functionality, but to work with customers to find innovative solutions, backed by deep scientific data, often down to the molecular level.
Walk down the hallway, and you can literally see innovation at work. The labs sit behind storefront windows, enabling passersby to watch ingredient analysis and creation. Part of the idea behind this transparency is to help customers understand the scientific process, especially at a time when many food and beverage companies are forced to scale back their own research teams.
But a twin benefit of this setup is the enhanced collaboration between researchers from different areas of expertise. Working more closely together, ADM scientists aren't just looking for one-ingredient to fill a gap or solve a problem. Instead, their focus is broader, leading to innovative solutions that create better products for customers on the whole.
"For the first time, we've created an environment where we have all of our food research and development housed literally under one roof," said Todd Werpy, ADM's Chief Technology Officer. "We always want to be thought of as high quality and a solutions provider, but I think for me, I want us to build that reputation and build that capability with our customers as an innovation partner. This facility will help us really bring that to life."
The Food Application Center in Decatur isn't the only place where ADM is investing in research, however. Across the globe, ADM operates more than 60 facilities dedicated to innovating in food and beverage, animal feed, industrial and energy uses.