Richardson International announced today plans to invest more than $30 million to develop an innovation centre in the heart of downtown Winnipeg, featuring state-of-the-art technology and equipment for research and product development. This world-class facility, designed by Number TEN Architectural Group, will complement Richardson’s food and ingredients division and will provide an extensive opportunity for industry collaboration. The new centre will not only facilitate agri-food research and product innovation, it will help invigorate the downtown area and serve as a lasting legacy for the Winnipeg community.
“Our goal is that the Richardson Innovation Centre will become a centre for collaboration - as a training facility for our employees and customers and an education centre for food science students and the culinary community,” says Chuck Cohen, Richardson’s Senior Vice-President, Technology. “As a Winnipeg-based company, we look forward to bringing our customers, suppliers and partners from around the globe to this centre to showcase our products and capabilities and provide them with a rich experience in a very unique setting.”
The four-storey, 5,800 square metre (62,000 square feet) facility will house Richardson’s food development team, product development suites, analytical laboratory and a culinary test and demonstration kitchen.
“Our hope is that the Innovation Centre will be a catalyst for new development, pulling the success of the Exchange District further south, and establishing a high-quality architectural precedent for other buildings to come in the future,” says Number TEN Associate and Creative Director Brent Bellamy. “We also hope the building engages the sidewalk and inspires pedestrian activity in the area.”
Brent Bellamy speaks at event
To support Richardson’s quality assurance and food safety teams, the centre will boast a cutting-edge microbiology lab and an extensive quality analysis area. The building will also include office areas with room for expansion to focus on innovation such as the increased use of robotics and automation in food packaging and processing. The strategic positioning of these core departments within the same multi-level space will optimize research, analytical and educational activities and facilitate the efficient development of truly innovative products.
“The process of product development requires a modern platform for testing solutions, troubleshooting issues and exploring new ideas as they relate to market needs and evolving customer taste profiles,” says Curt Vossen, Richardson’s President and CEO. “In order to test derivatives of existing products or create entirely new product streams, our team’s technical capabilities must be backed by the right technical facilities. We anticipate the Innovation Centre will provide them with the technical capacity and resources necessary to meet and exceed customer expectations.”
Located at the corner of Westbrook Street and Lombard Avenue, the Richardson Innovation Centre will be in close proximity to Richardson’s head office at Portage and Main. Construction will begin in April and is targeted for completion by the spring of 2020.
Richardson is Canada’s leading agribusiness and is recognized as a global leader in agriculture and food processing. The company is a worldwide handler and merchandiser of major Canadian-grown grains and oilseeds and is a vertically-integrated processor and manufacturer of oats and canola-based products.
Over the past two decades, Richardson has become a significant player in the global food business, producing a wide variety of food products and ingredients for the retail, foodservice and industrial markets. One of Canada’s Best Managed Companies, Richardson is headquartered in Winnipeg with over 2,600 employees worldwide.