DECATUR, ILL. – Tate & Lyle PLC officials have announced plans to build a new Commercial and Food Innovation Center in Hoffman Estates, Ill. The new center, to be built at a cost of $26 million, is expected to be operational by the end of 2011.

The 110,000 sq.-ft., three-story building, to be leased by Tate & Lyle, will feature laboratories, a demonstration kitchen and sensory testing, analytical and pilot plant facilities. It will be designed to meet customers' needs and to accelerate the process of bringing new products to market.

"This announcement represents an important step in positioning Tate & Lyle to deliver on its clear focus of becoming the leading global provider of specialty food ingredients and solutions," said Javed Ahmed, CEO.

The new center will be the global headquarters of Tate & Lyle's Innovation and Commercial Development group and the regional headquarters for the Specialty Food Ingredients business in North America. It will also act as the base for those US employees with global responsibilities and, accordingly, the president of the Bulk Ingredients global business unit, and his support staff, will be located there.

These groups are all currently located in downstate Decatur, Ill., and employees from these groups eventually will be relocating to Chicago. Approximately 160 positions will be located in the new center.

"The needs of the market and our customers are constantly changing,” said Karl Kramer, president, Innovation and Commercial Development. “Our new state-of-the-art food innovation center in Chicago will enable us to collaborate more closely with our customers to develop and commercialize new ingredients and solutions rapidly and efficiently."

The headquarters and leadership team of Tate & Lyle's Americas Bulk Ingredients business will continue to be based in Decatur, Ill.

"Tate & Lyle is proud of its long association with the city of Decatur,” said Matt Wineinger, president, Bulk Ingredients. “We will continue to have our plant and several-hundred employees in the city, and Decatur will remain the headquarters of our Bulk Ingredients business in the Americas. Tate & Lyle will continue to play an important role in the local community."