LENEXA, Kan. — With consumer taste preferences changing and the growth in snacking behaviors, Hostess Brands has opened a new lab to support the company’s ongoing commitment to product innovation.
Located in Lenexa, Kan., the Hostess Innovation Lab employs around 20 researchers, product testers and bakers whose mission is to create new snack cakes that resonate with consumers and bring moments of joy to daily life, the company said.
The new facility builds upon a legacy of innovation of the Hostess brand, which includes not just the recent introduction of several new products—including Hostess Iced Lemon CupCakes and Pumpkin Spice Twinkies—but also classic Twinkies, which were an innovation on an original recipe that was a banana creme-filled sponge cake, the company said.
“The Hostess Innovation Lab enables product innovation to the highest level of consumer delight, ensuring that the most desired products are going to market with the utmost quality and sustainability,” said Darryl Riley, Hostess’ senior vice president of quality, food safety and research and development. “The innovation lab gives us the testing capabilities, analytics and market research insights we need to support innovation that meets consumer needs and expectations.”
The Hostess Innovation Lab provides a testing center for Hostess Brands to develop new product prototypes and then test those prototypes through custom-built sensory booths and a focus-group room where consumers are invited to participate in the process. The experimentation conducted in the lab harnesses the power of consumer insights and is an opportunity for snack cake fans to inform product development, the company said. Through the data collected, Hostess Brands can then bring consumers inventive products that perform well on store shelves in an efficient, quick-to-market manner that accommodates the needs of retail partners.
“The innovation lab expands our ability to accelerate the speed at which we bring new products to market, meanwhile deepening our innovation roster and ensuring that these newest additions to our brand portfolio are fan favorites for many years to come,” Riley said. “For consumers, the innovation lab also provides a peek behind the curtain, as well as an opportunity to be a part of that process, demonstrating our commitment to consumer insight-based product invention.”
Lenexa-based Hostess Brands LLC produced Twinkies, CupCakes, Donettes, Ding Dongs, Zingers and other snack cakes and cookies.