DECATUR, Ala. – Wayne Farms LLC recently opened the doors to the company’s new Customer Innovation Center in Decatur, Alabama. The 15,000-sq.-ft. facility is adjacent to the company’s prepared food facility in Decatur, and it cost $4.5 million to build.

The new facility was designed to be a research and development hub that will reduce the time between product ideation and distribution to market. The center houses a commercial kitchen, ovens, grilling equipment as well as chilling and freezing areas, dry storage and spice storage space designed to accommodate the product innovation and testing needs of Wayne Farms’ foodservice and retail customers.

Digital technology to enable virtual meetings with the company’s customers is also available at the facility. Additionally, the center features a US Dept. of Agriculture-inspected pilot plant where new products can be developed and integrated with Wayne Farms’ production of ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook offerings. Up to 20 employees will work at the facility.

Oakwood, Georgia-based Wayne Farms is the sixth-largest integrated producer and processor of broiler chicken products in the United States. The company, which is a unit of Continental Grain Co., operates nine integrated complexes that include nine hatcheries, nine feed mills, nine slaughter processing plants and two further processing plants.