Sara Lee Corp. opened a new 120,000-square-foot research and development campus at the company's headquarters in Downers Grove, Ill., the company said April 17.

The complex houses more than 100 research and development professionals, including chefs, scientists, engineers and packaging designers. It's the first time the company has had all of its North American food and beverage research and development capabilities under one roof.

The center includes a product testing facility called The Kitchens of Sara Lee. The testing center features packaging labs with rapid prototyping capabilities, meat labs that simulate Sara Lee plant processes to test product components and packaging prototypes before they enter full-scale production, a bakery pilot plant for better understanding of how formulas will translate to commercial-size facilities, foodservice kitchens with plug-and-play equipment that can be custom-arranged to replicate a quick-service restaurant or a foodservice operation and sensory and product performance labs.