Kraft Foods said today (8 October) that it plans to build a EUR15m (US$22.2m) biscuits R&D centre south-west of Paris.

The US food giant said the facility in Saclay, a suburb of the French capital, would act as its "European centre of expertise" for biscuits and focus on NPD for brands including Lu, Oreo and Mikado.

Employees working in leased space at Groupe Danone's R&D facility in Palaiseau will join the Kraft site when it opens in the first half of 2011.

"France is an important strategic market for biscuits and for Kraft Foods globally. This investment makes good business sense, allowing us to continue to drive biscuit innovation and future growth," said Michael Clarke, president of Kraft Foods Europe.

Kraft Foods expanded its biscuit business in Europe in 2007 when it bought Danone's biscuit arm in a deal worth EUR5.3bn.