ST. LOUIS –  The week after the company announced plans to build a new innovation center, Deli Star Corp. appointed Michelle Claravall as the company’s director of research and development. Having worked in product development and foodservice management with several national brands and international chains, Claravall will lead Deli Star’s Culinary Innovation Team and work directly with the company’s food scientists and culinary experts. During the construction of the new innovation center, which is slated for completion in early 2021, she will work at Deli Star’s Fayetteville, Ill. processing plant and its current St. Louis-based innovation center.

Claravall joins Deli Star from Panera Bread, where she worked as new-product-introductions director, operation services. There, she led food field-testing commercialization and worked alongside that company’s culinary, marketing and supply-chain professionals to launch its new product-innovation model. 

“Michelle has an impressive track record, having worked with some of the largest and most-innovative companies in the food industry,” said Chef Charles Hayes, vice president of culinary innovation at Deli Star.”

Claravall will develop sourcing strategies and health-based menu enhancements while supporting sales and marketing teams. She will work with Hayes to drive product development and enhance processes.

“Amid the challenges facing our industry this year, we have remained focused on taking bold steps forward in culinary innovation and product development to meet our customers’ needs, and Michelle will play a significant role in helping us achieve those goals,” Hayes said.