In an effort to "develop talent through food inspiration and uplift," Kroger opened its Culinary Innovation Center in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, on Thursday.

"Kroger's new Culinary Innovation Center is an exciting state-of-the-art test kitchen and education center," says Daniel Hammer, Kroger's vice-president of culinary development and new business. "This R&D lab will allow us to accelerate product development for Our Brands, produce new recipes for Prep+Pared Meal Kits, explore new restaurant concepts, host food tastes and focus groups, and increase associates' culinary knowledge."

The 12,000-square-foot, LEED-designed center features a commercial kitchen with multiple cooking stations, spaces and capabilities, including technology that allows video streaming of educational sessions to Kroger associates across the country.

"The center gives our culinary team a fun, modern space to innovate and experiment with food trends, flavors, and ingredients to create new experiences for our customers," says Hammer.