WINNIPEG, MAN. — Richardson International has unveiled plans to invest more than C$30 million ($23.4 million) to develop an innovation center featuring technology and equipment for research and product development. The facility will be located in Winnipeg, and is expected to complement Richardson’s food and ingredients division. Richardson said the center will provide “an extensive opportunity for industry collaboration.”
“Our goal is that the Richardson Innovation Centre will become a center for collaboration — as a training facility for our employees and customers and an education center for food science students and the culinary community,” said Chuck Cohen, senior vice-president of technology at Richardson. “As a Winnipeg-based company, we look forward to bringing our customers, suppliers and partners from around the globe to this center to showcase our products and capabilities and provide them with a rich experience in a very unique setting.”
The four-story, 62,000-square-foot facility will house Richardson’s food development team, product development suites, analytical laboratory and a culinary test and demonstration kitchen. To ensure its quality assurance and food safety teams, the center will have a cutting-edge microbiology lab and an extensive quality analysis area, Richardson said. The building also will include office areas with room for expansion to focus on innovation such as the increased use of robotics and automation in food packaging and processing. The strategic positioning of these core departments within the same multi-level space will optimize research, analytical and educational activities and facilitate the efficient development of truly innovative products, Richardson said.
“The process of product development requires a modern platform for testing solutions, troubleshooting issues and exploring new ideas as they relate to market needs and evolving customer taste profiles,” said Curt Vossen, president and chief executive officer of Richardson. “In order to test derivatives of existing products or create entirely new product streams, our team’s technical capabilities must be backed by the right technical facilities. We anticipate the Innovation Centre will provide them with the technical capacity and resources necessary to meet and exceed customer expectations.”
Located at the corner of Westbrook Street and Lombard Avenue, the Richardson Innovation Centre will be in close proximity to Richardson’s head office at Portage and Main. Construction will begin in April and is targeted for completion by the spring of 2020.
Richardson is a handler and merchandiser of major Canadian-grown grains and oilseeds and is a vertically-integrated processor and manufacturer of oats and canola-based products.