SAVAGE, MINN. — Cargill has announced plans to invest $6.4 million to expand the food pilot capabilities at its North American Pilot Development Center in Savage. Construction on the 6,500-square-foot facility began in April 2019 and is expected to be fully operational later this year.

Cargill said the new facility will include a refinery pilot plant to produce shortenings, a fats and oils crystallization center to process shortenings, and a laboratory for quality control purposes.

The new facility is located directly adjacent to Cargill’s R.&D. Lab, allowing for quick collaboration between those researching new recipes and individuals testing oils and fats for products.

“Our expanded pilot facility and our Food Innovation Center together will allow us to more quickly respond to customer requests for samples and test their performance in bakery products,” said Sonia Punwani, global bakery category leader for Cargill’s edible oils business. “This is a big step forward for us to support bakery innovation with the combination of science, customer intimacy, and market insights.”

Cargill also runs pilot and food innovation facilities in Vilvoorde, Belgium; Beijing, China; and Singapore.