To get to the Food Innovation Center at Rutgers University in South Jersey, you’ll pass all kinds of farms. Peggy Brennan-Tonetta, Rutgers associate vice president for economic development, says over 20 years ago there were even more farms, but research showed the agriculture industry and small-scale food manufacturing was on the decline.
For that reason, the Food Innovation Center was founded in 1998 as a way for the state university to give food companies a place to get help from experts. It’s now expanded to two locations — one center in Piscataway and another in Bridgeton, which houses a small-scale manufacturing plant.
The companies range from startups in beverages to companies further along in the plant technology sector.
Next year the Food Innovation Center plans on launching the Rutgers Global Food Accelerator Program which is designed to get companies to market more quickly.