MANHATTAN, KANSAS, US — Grain Craft has opened its new laboratory facility within the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center in Manhattan. A grand opening event to mark the inauguration of the Grain Craft Innovation and Quality (GCIQ) Lab was held Oct. 1.

In September 2020, Chattanooga, Tennessee, US-based Grain Craft unveiled plans to move its corporate laboratory from Wichita, Kansas, US, to the Manhattan innovation center. Announcing the opening, the company said the GCIQ Lab will serve multiple purposes, extending beyond the basic function of milling laboratories — supporting improvement in wheat quality, flour quality and flour consistency along with an ongoing exploration of innovation opportunities.

“We are pleased to officially celebrate this meaningful investment in our capabilities,” said Nick Weigel, vice president of quality, regulatory and technical services at Grain Craft. “The GCIQ lab reflects our commitment to upstream innovation and the advancement of critical wheat value chain connections.”

The GCIQ Lab features three laboratory spaces with one each devoted to wheat, flour and baking. The company said the laboratories are equipped to work in a coordinated fashion to “inform timely decisions related to day-to-day performance testing, new crop harvest evaluations, preferred variety selections and research initiatives.”

Research efforts will be focused on pursuing innovation in areas such as new wheat variety development, soil health management, and flour functionality.   

“The GCIQ Lab is a highly functioning hub for Grain Craft,” said Reuben McLean, senior director of quality and regulatory. “While the lab is a space focused on quality and product performance, it also allows us frequent interaction with wheat breeders, growers and extension experts to collaborate on long-term quality and yield improvement.”

The Kansas Wheat Commission’s Wheat Innovation Center, where the GCIQ Lab is located, was opened in 2012 and focuses on technologies that advance new wheat variety development. In addition to 15,000 square feet of research laboratories, the $15 million center features 22,750 square feet of greenhouses and 10,000 square feet of office space.

The Oct. 1 grand opening event included the premier of “Upstream Innovation,” a four-minute promotional video, laboratory tours and a reception.