The centre will aim to boost the company’s European biscuit and snacks portfolio and will be home to 120 staff, including engineers, nutritionists, baker-pastry cooks, researchers, and product and packaging developers. The facility took two years to build at a cost of €15m ($20m).
Laurie Guzzinati, director of communications for Kraft Foods in Europe, told BakeryAndSnacks.com: “This is a centre for European R&D looking at the full portfolio of European biscuits and snacking.”
She said the facility will support product development of Kraft biscuit brands, including LU, Belvita, Oreo, and Mikado.
Guzzinati said the company was looking to capitalise on the French biscuit market to build on its successes in France in other sectors.
“France is an important market to Kraft Foods. It is a strong market and we already have a long established and successful coffee business there.”
She said Kraft Food brands such as Philadelphia cream cheese and biscuit business LU already had a strong presence in France and the new centre would build upon Kraft’s successful biscuit brands while also looking at new product development.
Nutrition and wellbeing focus
Guzzinati said the new centre would look at the full range of biscuit opportunities, but a possible focus could be nutrition and wellness products. She pointed to a recently launched wholegrain Belvita breakfast biscuit that she said had enjoyed a good start in the European market.
According to Guzzinati, the centre will also look to packaging innovation and will leverage the staff’s expertise to focus on new packaging opportunities in, for example, reclosability and resealing as the company's research team for its Nabisco brands had done in the past.
The new centre brings the Kraft Food’s number of R&D facilities to 11 worldwide. Guzzinati said its US team also works on biscuit research and development, but the intention of the new centre in Paris is to work with a European focus.