Hostess Brands has opened a new Innovation Lab as consumer taste preferences continue to evolve, driving an upward shift in snacking behaviours.
Located in Lenexa, Kansas, the Hostess Innovation Lab employs around 20 researchers, product testers and bakers tasked with creating new snack cakes.
“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, Hostess’s SVP of Quality, Food Safety and R&D.
“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.”
Through the lab, sensory booth and focus group areas, the Hostess Innovation Lab provides an inspirational testing centre for Hostess Brands 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.
Through the data collected, Hostess Brands 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 favourites for many years to come,” added Mr Riley.
“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.”