Cargill announced plans this month to open a state-of-the-art ingredients lab and test kitchen in Savage this summer.
Construction began on the 6,500-square-foot facility last spring, and the $6.4 million project, called the North American Pilot Development Center, will be fully operational by late summer, according to a news release from the company.
The facility is adjacent to Cargill’s Engineering Research & Development Lab. The company operates similar programs in Plymouth and elsewhere in Europe and Asia.
The site will be used to pilot new vegetable oils and other baking ingredients, according to the release. The facility will include a fats and oils crystallization center and a lab used to analyze their quality.
“Innovation in food is often driven not by one ingredient, such as fats and oils, but through using multiple ingredients,” company spokeswoman Kelly Sheehan said in an email.
“At Cargill, our food ingredient portfolio is broad enough to first supply all the ingredients needed for new bakery treats, and then quickly try them in applications because we have all these testing capabilities within the Twin Cities.”
The expansion will enable Cargill to refine “novel vegetable oils and blends which can then be used to create innovative new shortenings for a variety of applications such as breads, cakes, cookies, frying and other uses,” Sheehan said.
A fats and oils crystallization center opened in 2018 at the existing Savage lab to process high-functionality bakery shortenings.
The expanded facility will speed up the process for testing bakery products and allow Cargill to respond to customer requests for samples more quickly, according to Sonia Punwani, global bakery category leader for Cargill’s edible oils business.
“This is a big step forward for us to support bakery innovation with the combination of science, customer intimacy, and market insights,” she wrote in a statement.