ConAgra outfitting building in La Vista for product research and development

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Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014 12:00 am

ConAgra Foods is outfitting a 22,500-square-foot industrial building in La Vista for product research.

The Omaha-based packaged food manufacturer wouldn’t offer details about what type of products would be developed there.

“The only information I can offer at this time is that it will be an R&D facility for testing new products and prototypes,” spokeswoman Lanie Friedman said.

The facility is in an industrial area at 8877 S. 137th Circle. A city building permit said the project involves $500,000 in construction costs.

Architectural plans show office space, a warehouse, a laboratory containing microwaves and testing equipment, and a production area that includes a “raw” room and a “finish” room connected by a conveyor belt.

ConAgra is leasing the building from Lavigne Enterprises. A Lavigne employee said the building had been empty for several years.

ConAgra has been increasing its research and development budget in recent years, spending $93.1 million in its 2013 fiscal year, up from $81.4 million two years earlier.

The firm told Food Processing magazine in 2013 that its core R&D operations are at its downtown Omaha headquarters, and that some R&D activities take place in suburban Chicago and in St. Louis, home to private-label food manufacturer Ralcorp, which ConAgra acquired in 2013. ConAgra’s Lamb Weston potato business has a research facility in Richland, Wash.

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