Marianne Kirkegaard, president and chief executive officer of CSM Bakery Solutions, issued a challenge to the baking industry at the opening of Middleby Bakery Group’s new Bakery Innovation Center (BIC) in Plano on April 11. The challenge? Innovate more to change the industry.

She said the baking industry needs an innovative push and the new Middleby BIC may do just that.


Middleby Bakery Innovation Center team
The facility is an extended research and development center for bakers around the world.

“Bakers can now come together and ideate around new solutions and that makes me very excited for the industry,” Ms. Kirkegaard said.

The 30,000-square-foot facility is home to a new series of production lines including a 17-foot-wide Middleby 960 Hurricane tunnel oven and a new Emico high-capacity makeup line. In addition, two Auto-Bake lines will be available to produce a variety of bakery products such as pan bread, special buns, baguettes, artisan bread, muffins, cakes and cookies. The facility is the first of its kind for bread, buns and sweet goods, and offers opportunities for bakers to test ideas in a protected environment.

Len Kilby, president of global sales, Middleby, and Mark Salman, president, explained that the new facility allows bakers to identify product processing techniques before investing in a new production line. He described the facility as an extended research and development center for bakers around the world.

“We’re going to get together bakers, suppliers, everyone, and develop the best products with the best brains in the industry,” Mr. Salman said.

Inside the BIC is a French-style cafe and meeting room that Mr. Salman dedicated to Mr. Kilby during the opening ceremonies, naming it “Kilby’s Cafe.”

The opening ceremony and open house featured live baking demonstrations using the various new makeup equipment and industrial ovens producing bread, buns and sweet goods. Keynote speakers included Ms. Kirkegaard and David Gibbs, president of Yum! Brands, and Chuck Sonsteby, chairman of the board, Darden Restaurants, who discussed the future of the restaurant and baking industries from a global perspective.