Opening of Technology Center
Concord, MA, October 1, 1997
Welch's recently opened its new, state-of-the-art Technology Center in Billerica, Mass. Featuring product, process and package development laboratories along with a pilot plant, product sensory testing facilities and microbiological laboratories, Welch's Technology Center houses all of the Company's research and development, corporate quality assurance and corporate engineering staff.
The 40,000-square-foot facility, designed by the architectural firm of Dimella Shaffer Associates Inc. of Boston, is located 10 miles from Welch's corporate headquarters in Concord, Mass., and is double the size of Welch's former facility which was located in Westfield, N.Y.
"The opening of Welch's Technology Center has marked a significant milestone for Welch's," said Marion Williams, senior vice president, Technology. "All our product, packaging and engineering innovations have emanated from this facility and have provided us with a competitive advantage as we enter the 21st century."
New products currently account for more than 30 percent of Welch's sales. "We fully expect to increase that percentage," Williams noted, "as the new Technology Center facilitates more interaction among individuals in Marketing, Sales, Operations and Technology."
Technology played a key role in the development of the Company's most successful new product -- Welch's JuiceMakers, which was first introduced in 1995. This year JuiceMakers will approach the $100 million mark in sales.
"To maintain the growth rate we've achieved -- 35 percent over the past three years -- we know that new products are absolutely essential," added Danny Morse, director of Research & Development/Quality Assurance. "The Technology Center has enabled us to bring some of the innovative ideas we have to fruition." Morse, along with Bob Knapp, director, Corporate Engineering, forms the management team that oversees Welch's Technology Center.
Welch's is the world's leading producer, manufacturer and marketer of Concord and Niagara grape-based products, including grape juice and jelly. The Company also produces a variety of other fruit-based products including blended fruit juices and cocktails, fruit juices in both the frozen concentrate and shelf-stable concentrate form (Welch's JuiceMakers), and an assortment of jams, jellies and preserves under both the Welch's and BAMA brand names.