CAMDEN, N.J. — Campbell Soup Co. unveiled plans to invest more than $30 million to build a new 34,000-square-foot innovation center at its Pepperidge Farm facilities in Norwalk, Conn. The project, which also will include extensive upgrading of Pepperidge Farm’s existing headquarters at the site, reflects Campbell’s efforts to further increase the rate of innovation across its Baking and Snacking portfolio. Baking and Snacking is the company’s second-largest reporting segment — behind U.S. Soups, Sauces and Beverages — and includes both its Pepperidge Farm unit and Arnott’s in Asia Pacific.

“This investment is the latest step in our effort to drive increased innovation and create new products to delight consumers,” said Denise Morrison, chief operating officer and chief executive officer elect. “Pepperidge Farm has delivered outstanding innovations that have contributed to the growth of Campbell for more than 50 years, and we expect the new innovation center to fuel further collaboration and growth across our global baking and snacking portfolio.”

Campbell said the innovation center will feature a contemporary design with a curved glass exterior and will house a pilot plant with product development and testing lines, culinary kitchens, scientific labs and meeting rooms. The innovation center will be an extension of Pepperidge Farm’s headquarters that will connect to the main building by a glass enclosed internal walkway that will allow viewing of the research floor. The center will be designed as an environmentally-friendly, LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) “green” building and will employ a variety of energy efficiency, water conservation and day-light harvesting techniques, and it will use recycled building materials in the construction, Campbell said.

The company expects to break ground on the project, pending permits and other governmental approvals, in August and plans to complete construction in fall 2012.

“Having an innovation center at our headquarters in Norwalk will deliver many benefits to our business, including accelerated innovation,” said Pat Callaghan, president of Pepperidge Farm. “It will enable us to conduct research and testing of new product concepts in a much more convenient and cost-effective way and will support greater innovation for both our Bakery and Snacks units, especially as we continue to focus on global baked snacks as a strategic priority. In sum, the new facility will allow us to continue answering the question that Pepperidge Farm founder Margaret Rudkin was famous for asking: ‘What’s Next?’”