The Rutgers Food Innovation Center (FIC) helps businesses in the food and beverage space start, accelerate and commercialize.
The center is part of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station under the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and has locations in Bridgeton, Piscataway and Bordentown, N.J.
Industry veterans make up the FIC team and none are from academia. It works with about 500 clients a year, including Fortune 500 companies like Mars Chocolate as well as newcomers who want to take their food idea and get it on supermarket shelves.
For Rutgers’ students who want to get into the food business, FIC says the biggest demand is in quality control; they want college students to learn as much as they can about food science and the microbiology aspects of the field. The center’s most famous project is the Impossible Burger.
The FIC is a fee-for-service and charges for time, consulting work and use of facilities; they are much less expensive than commercial companies that offer similar services.
FIC is also one of the few centers in the country that is university-affiliated and has both U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Food and Drug Administration certification.