SCHAUMBURG, ILL. — Gonnella Baking Co. has opened a research center within its Schaumburg facility, a facility the company said allows it “to effectively address its commitment to continuously improving processes.” Additionally, the research center will enhance Gonnella’s capabilities to develop new products, allowing the bakery to anticipate client needs and respond rapidly to consumer driven changes in the marketplace.

“We are a leader in research and development for frozen dough and baked items,” said Tom Marcucci, vice-president of sales and marketing at Gonnella. “Gonnella recognizes that innovation drives business forward, so we listen and react to our customers’ ideas for growth.”

The nearly 2,000-square-foot research center features ovens, proof boxes, mixers, storage for dry ingredients, a refrigerator and freezer, in addition to a variety of workspaces. The components are designed to mimic the environment customers experience at the store level, Gonnella said. The center also will serve as an instructional center for employees and a training facility for customers and bakery technicians alike.

“We strive to continuously improve the quality of our bread and dough items in order to effectively respond to the demands of both our existing and potential customers,” said Ruth Meyer, vice-president of research and development at Gonnella.

Gonnella’s R.&D. team is comprised of a food scientist, certified research chef, retail baker, food technician, and regulatory and quality experts. According to the company, the R.&D. team presents customers with tailored product development innovation opportunities along with product troubleshooting and optimization.

“Our product development process guides the R.&D. team from the beginning concept to market introduction, ensuring a consistent, quality product every step of the way,” Ms. Meyer said.

Family owned and operated for more than 125 years, Gonnella is a national distributer of bread and dough products. In addition to delivering bread daily to retailers and restaurants from Green Bay, Wis., to Indianapolis, Gonnella is a coast-to-coast provider of frozen dough, par-baked products and fully baked frozen items.

The company produces more than 4 million lbs of product weekly in four modern facilities. Its Aurora and Schaumburg, Ill., plants along with its newest facility in Hazle Township, Pa., have been recognized by BRC Global Standards and AIB International for quality in food safety.

Gonnella’s customers include in-store bakeries, grocers, delis and convenience stores as well as the food service industry, including restaurants, quick-service restaurants, health care and educational facilities, and concessions. The company also provides contract baking, private label products and custom baking solutions — working in collaboration with its clients to bring their ideas, opportunities and concepts to fruition.