LENEXA, Kan. — Amid evolving consumer taste preferences and an upward shift in snacking behaviors, Hostess Brands Inc. opened a new, world-class Innovation Lab.
Located in Lenexa, the Hostess Innovation Lab opened June 15. It employs around 20 researchers, product testers and bakers whose mission is to create new snack cakes that resonate with consumers and bring moments of joy to daily life, the company stated.
"The Hostess Innovation Lab enables product innovation to the highest level of consumer delight, ensuring that the most desired products are going to market with the utmost quality and sustainability," said Darryl Riley, senior vice president of Quality, Food Safety and R&D, Hostess Brands.
"The Innovation Lab gives us the testing capabilities, analytics and market research insights we need to support innovation that meets consumer needs and expectations — such as the Hostess Hot Fudge Sundae CupCakes recently conceived and tested for early 2021 production," he added. "As the category leader, we take it upon ourselves to make a sustained investment in this consumer-centric area of our business."
The Hostess Innovation Lab provides an inspirational testing center for the company to develop new product prototypes, and then test those prototypes through custom-built sensory booths and a focus group room where consumer advocates are invited to participate in the process.
The experimentation conducted in the lab harnesses the power of consumer insights and is a unique opportunity for passionate snack cake fans to inform product development, Hostess Brands said in a press release. Through the data collected, the company can then bring consumers inventive, high-quality products that perform well on store shelves in an efficient, quick-to-market manner that accommodates the needs of retail partners.
"The Innovation Lab expands our ability to accelerate the speed at which we bring new products to market, meanwhile deepening our innovation roster and ensuring that these newest additions to our brand portfolio are fan favorites for many years to come," Riley added. "For consumers, the Innovation Lab also provides a peek behind the curtain, as well as an opportunity to be a part of that process, demonstrating our commitment to consumer insight-based product invention."
Kansas City, Mo.-based Hostess Brands is a leading packaged food company focused on developing, manufacturing, marketing, selling and distributing fresh baked sweet goods in the United States and Canada.