Second Nature Brands opened a new innovation center in June at its Sanders Chocolate factory on Hall Road in Clinton Township. The center will accelerate new snacks and treat product development.

Second Nature Brands opened a new innovation center in June at its Sanders Chocolate factory on Hall Road in Clinton Township. The center will accelerate new snacks and treat product development.

File photo provided by Sanders Chocolate


Innovation center opens in Clinton Township

By: Alex Szwarc | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published July 15, 2021

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Announced last month, a local candy business has some company, via a new innovation center.

Second Nature Brands opened a new innovation center in June at its Sanders Chocolate factory on Hall Road in Clinton Township.

The center will “accelerate new snacks and treat product development,” a press release states. It will house product development for Kar’s Nuts, Second Nature Snacks and Sanders Chocolates. Second Nature Brands, with its corporate location in Madison Heights, is a snacks and treats company.

“The Innovation Center features a research and development lab, temperature-controlled product storage area, and sensory research facility, allowing Second Nature Brands to develop, consumer test and rapidly iterate on new product innovation,” the release notes. “The Innovation Center will also provide a space to collaborate with the company’s retail customer partners on developing new products that fulfill emerging market needs.”

Jennifer Bauer, chief marketing officer of Second Nature Brands, said the new center will further accelerate the brand’s innovation and product development process, enabling it to formulate and launch new products faster than ever.

She added that, in the center, Second Nature’s team of diverse and experienced food scientists are focused on developing snack products in the growing “better-for-you and permissible indulgence spaces.”

Vic Mehren, Second Nature Brands CEO, said the innovation center will produce items like Kar’s Snack Max with flavors like hot buffalo and zesty ranch.

“On the Second Nature side, we have more functionally benefit type of trail mixes,” he said.

At the center, Mehren said time will be spent developing new recipes and coming up with new technology and processes to bring products to market.

He noted that an advantage of the center being located next to Sanders is that products can be tested by Sanders customers and can receive direct feedback.

Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon said it’s nice to have the Innovation Center of a major company located in the township.

“We appreciate Second Nature Brands’ investment in our community, and the job opportunities they make available to our local workforce, and we certainly appreciate their products,” he said.

Second Nature Brands has a distribution network across the U.S. and a growing direct-to-consumer eCommerce presence.