Diamond Foods Builds Dedicated Innovation Center In Oregon To Support Product Development For Family Of Snack And Nut Brands

Oct. 13, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 6, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Diamond Foods, Inc. (Nasdaq:DMND) ("Diamond"), the company behind such household brands as Kettle Brand®, Pop Secret®, Emerald® Nuts and century-old Diamond of California®, is gearing up for a pipeline of new products with a new innovation center and expanding team of experienced tastemakers.

Groundbreaking begins this week on the product development and testing center, located adjacent to the Kettle Brand® production facility in Salem, Oregon. Slated for completion next year the building will house a team of employees dedicated to bringing products to market – including food scientists, sensory personnel, and marketing, packaging and regulatory experts. The cross-functional team is designed to support innovation across the company's family of snack and nut brands. The facility includes a state-of-the-art R&D kitchen and lab, allowing production of product samples and simulation preparation processes, a sensory evaluation center for real-time product testing with consumers, and a concept room designed for ideation and customer meetings.

"It is a commitment for the future," said Holly Mensch, who joined the company last year as Vice President of Research, Development and Innovation, bringing with her a strong background in product innovation. "We are focusing on innovation on all fronts – flavors, formats and packaging and the new facility gives us more space and equipment to do our work more efficiently and space to immediately test with consumers."

The Company's first formal R&D center is located next to the Kettle Brand® facility due to the brand's strong history of innovation, as well as employee talent in the agricultural region of the Willamette Valley and its close proximity to the culinary scene in Portland, Oregon.

ZGF Architects LLP designed the building with food development and safety in mind with an aim to minimize impact on the environment and reflect the spirit of Diamond Foods.

"The two-story center creates a new innovative space that aligns with the Company's mission," said Kathy Berg, ZGF Architects Principal. "The building form is shaped by a correlation to a majestic oak tree, to allow offices and other rooms to maximize views of the restored and expanded wetland in Salem."

ZGF brings a wealth of experience in the food industry, having designed the University of California, Davis Campus's Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science and the Clif Bar headquarters and R&D kitchen.

About Diamond Foods

Diamond Foods is an innovative packaged food company focused on building and energizing brands including Kettle Brand®, Emerald®, Pop Secret®, and Diamond of California®. Diamond's products are distributed in a wide range of stores where snacks and culinary nuts are sold. For more information visit www.diamondfoods.com.