Wal-Mart Stores Inc. recently opened a 12,000-SF Culinary and Innovation Center at 411 S. Walton Blvd., next to its home office in Bentonville.
The facility is dedicated to quality-testing current food items sold in its stores as well as developing and testing new culinary concepts for the retailer’s private-label brands, including Great Value and Marketside.
John Forrest Ales, director of corporate communications at Walmart, said, “It is part of a broader effort to ensure delivery of the most premium quality products,” and will be used in partnership with the company’s own brands and its suppliers from throughout the nation.
According to the Walmart blog, the test kitchens in the center feature a variety of different layouts, including replicas of the bakery and deli kitchens found in Walmart stores, in addition to kitchens designed to simulate what might be found in customers’ homes.
In addition to test kitchens, the center features testing labs that will be used to provide direct interaction and feedback with customers.
The center was open for tours during Walmart shareholders’ week, ahead of the meeting on June 3, and it was open for operations during the week of June 6, Ales said.