US chewing gum maker Wrigley has opened its new Global Innovation Center, which the company described as “the nerve centre of its commitment to innovate, diversify and meet the needs of future generations of consumers”.

Situated on Chicago’s Goose Island, the 153,000 square-foot main building houses flexible laboratory and office space to maximise collaboration and the ability to support new projects and equipment as needed; adjacent is a 40,000 square-foot pilot plant. Wrigley said its estimated total investment in the facility has been US$45m to date.

Over the past four years, the contribution from new products has averaged nearly 20% of Wrigley’s global sales, up significantly from the 5-6% rate of the late 1990s. As a result of this activity and other strategic business moves, the company’s sales growth has averaged 12% since 1999, more than double the rate of the previous five-year period, Wrigley said.