After more than 18 months of development, Kellogg’s Culinary and Sensory Centre at its Trafford Park factory near Manchester is now open.
The Special K-to-Pop Tarts maker has invested upwards of £500,000 in the hub, which will be home to Kellogg’s team of food developers, chefs, and packaging designers.
According to Jason Billingham, Kellogg’s senior director R&D, the new centre will allow the company to ‘innovate’ and ‘create’ in ways it’s never done before.
“The space will be the source of new products, innovative packaging solutions and reformulation – that will not only be rolled out across the UK but will be seen by consumers across Europe,” added Chris Silcock, Kellogg’s UK vice president.
A focus on reformulation
Indeed, reformulation will be a key focus on the new centre. One of the first projects to come out of trials at the hub was the recent reduction of salt in Special K.
Overall, the renovation has seen an average salt reduction of 19.8% across the Special K cereal range. As a result, five out of Kellogg’s seven varieties of Special K cereals are now HFSS-compliant.
It was not an easy road to reformulation, suggested the company. In cereal, salt is used not only to add flavour, but also to enhance other ingredients within the recipe.
“Our food experts in research and development analysed the sensory aspect of the food experience, specifically the way the tongue and taste buds detect the salt,” a Kellogg’s spokesperson told FoodNavigator back in May.
In so doing, the company was able to redistribute the salt, so that the taste buds detect it more easily. “This enabled us to reduce the overall amount of salt, without impacting the taste of the food.”
Testing new ingredients, cereals, and packaging
Reformulation is the not the sole focus of the new centre, however. The Culinary and Sensory Centre is where the company will trial new cereals, test new ingredients, experiment with recipes, and ‘invent the foods of the future’.
Packaging design will also be a central to the facility. The inclusion of a dedicated packaging design lab will enable Kellogg to trial new sustainable packaging options. The company has pledged to use 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable packaging by the end of 2025.
Already, significant reductions in carton board, case weight, plastic liner, and plastic wrap have been made across its Bran Flakes, Special K, and Frosties brands.
The opening of the centre comes as Kellogg’s celebrates 100 years since first launching in the UK.