Tyson Foods is dedicated to developing a best-in-class, product portfolio that meets the needs of today’s changing market. In short, we make great food! By applying an in-depth understanding of consumer needs, customer needs, technical skills, and analytical skills, we are positioned at the forefront of product development and will continue innovating our products, analytics, and processes to create new and relevant food solutions for years to come.

Discovery Center and Innovation
With our 100,000-square-foot Tyson Discovery Center, which includes a 40,000-square-foot, multi-protein, USDA-inspected pilot plant, Tyson Foods is continuously fine-tuning our research and development efforts. Opened in January 2007, the Tyson Discovery Center enhances our ability to develop new food solutions and bring them to market faster. The pilot plant provides a real-world “testing ground” for evaluating numerous elements in the product-development process. In this unique facility, we have the ability to replicate nearly every production process using the exact equipment found in our processing plants.

The pilot plant also eliminates the disruptions, inefficiencies, and “translation errors” that can occur during new-product testing at a production plant and reduces travel expenses for Team Members involved with in-plant trials. In keeping with our Core Values around the safety of our guests and our products, the pilot plant offers a viewing gallery that allows customers and guests to observe several segments of pilot plant activity without entering a food-safe environment.

Furthermore, we are applying our resources to focus on key areas of growth for Tyson Foods. This includes sharing best practices and technical knowledge with our international counterparts around products and processes previously identified for our domestic business.

In addition to product innovation, a key sustainable advantage for our company is in our capacity to develop innovative processes. For example, the Tyson Discovery Center is home to our Speed Focus Group process and our Consumer Focus Group learning center. Our use of Speed Focus Groups allows us to measure consumer insights about new products and packaging. The Consumer Focus Group learning center allows for in-depth, one-on-one or group discussions regarding the marketing activity of a new product. Participants are queried on various aspects of a proposed new product, or changes to an existing product, to gain consumer insights. The ability to engage directly in discussion with the end-user to help create new products is what enables us to continue to meet the needs of today’s changing market.

Listening to the voice of the consumer is just one tool we use to develop products. Another innovative approach is the use of embedded resources – experts from some of our key supply partners who provide a wealth of knowledge and experience in making great food. By working together in the Discovery Center on a daily basis, we are able to jointly bring innovation to market sooner than we might otherwise.

Cultivating our R&D Talent
We recognize the importance of cultivating, or growing, our people. Through the Tyson Discovery Center, we are able to add to the skills sets of our Team Members. For example, the Tyson Discovery Center is home to 173 Research and Development Team Members. Of these, 82 are food-science professionals, 36 of whom have Master's Degrees and 13 have PhDs. Technologists receive training to enhance their technical skills, and they have access to additional training opportunities in culinary creativity, leadership, and business acumen. This allows our technologists to provide thought leadership when working with business partners and customers. Nearly a third of these Team Members have been with Tyson Foods more than 20 years, bringing an expertise to product development that is unequaled.

We currently have 45 Research Chef Association Certified Culinologists on staff, with more technologists in training. This culinary training program, co-created by Johnson and Wales University and the University of Arkansas, is conducted on the campus of the University of Arkansas which eliminates the need for travel, thus making it an efficient method to allow the product development team to have a more well-rounded understanding of both the culinary aspect and commercial viability of producing a product.

We also have four professionals with dietetic degrees. These individuals specialize in human nutrition and apply their degrees to product research and development. By tapping into their knowledge base, we are creating a culture of health-and-wellness awareness when it comes to product development. This not only helps us make great food, but make a difference as well.

Our research and development staff continues to focus on helping our business partners manage the fundamentals of the business. Our focus on product optimization continues to deliver efficient ways to improve the quality and costs of our product portfolio.

Our belief is that Tyson Foods’ Research and Development team is uniquely positioned to be an industry leader when it comes to making great food by developing the right products for our customers and consumers.

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