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Dannon Opens Yogurt Discovery Center in Greenburgh

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Dannon's new $9 million state of the art Innovation and Discovery Center designed to conceive and develop the company’s new products was unveiled Thursday in Greenburgh.

The ceremony, held at Dannon headquarters on Hillside Avenue, where the new center is located, started with a presentation by Dannon CEO Gustavo Valle and other executives.

“It’s a truly unique facility we created here. This doesn’t exist anywhere in the world,” Stewart Townsend, senior director of research and development, told the more than 40 people who attended the event.

Townsend pressed a switch and lights went on in the new center behind a glass wall, illuminating a complex system of vessels, pipes, pumps and valves, all made of shining stainless steel. The audience let out an “Oooh!”

After the presentation, the visitors, wearing white coats and hairnets, were taken on a tour through the center, where they could observe the equipment used in different stages of yogurt making, such as fermentation and pasteurization.

“This is a place where we are testing concepts continuously,” said Michael Neuwirth, Dannon’s senior director of public relations.

Neuwirth said the center was designed for all kinds of experiments, for example, trying a fruit never used in yogurts.

During his presentation, he listed the many innovations yogurt has undergone, from the fruits-on-the-bottom variety in the 1940s, the low-fat yogurts in 1955 and the mini-cups in 1982, to the probiotics in 2006 and the more recent Greek yogurts.

“The growth of yogurt has always been fueled and propelled by innovation,” Neuwirth said.

By bringing research and development close to its other business functions, the company expects to accelerate the development of new products, Valle said.

“We have a mission here to convince Americans to consume yogurts,” he said, after pointing that only 10 percent of American households consume yogurt once a week.

Valle thanked the town for facilitating the building of the new center, which was completed in only nine months and will employee 40 people. He also said that quality of education is another advantage of being in Greenburgh.

“Honestly, we have good access to talents here,” Valle said.

Three baskets of Dannon yogurt waited for visitors at the end of the tour.

What do you think of such a big company like Dannon having its United States headquarters, and now its unique innovation center, right here in Greenburgh? You can answer below or in Facebook.

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