Rutgers Helps Bring Global Food Businesses to New Jersey

Bridgeton, NJ - December 19, 2017

 

The Rutgers Food Innovation Center launches FoodBIN, a global network of food-based business incubators

By Andrea Alexander 

Where do entrepreneurs from New Jersey and around the world go for assistance to launch or grow a food business?

Rutgers.

Rutgers Food Innovation Center, a business incubator that is part of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, is seeing a growing stream of global and domestic companies contacting them about resources and assistance to develop their businesses.

Since 2001, the center has helped more than 2,000 food businesses, from a California-based company that makes vegan burgers to a gluten-free bread company from Italy that eventually opened a production facility in New Jersey, employing over 50 people.

It also has a strong focus on helping businesses in the Garden State such as First Field, a company that is now sourcing over 500,000 pounds of tomatoes each year from New Jersey farmers – as the result of relationships fostered by the Food Innovation Center – to produce a locally made ketchup and other products.

Now the Food Innovation Center is branching out to share its expertise. The center recently launched the Food Business Innovation Network, or FoodBIN, a global food incubation network, to foster collaboration and share resources with similar organizations around the world.

FoodBIN recently held its inaugural conference at Rutgers. It was organized in partnership with the International Business Innovation Association, with a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development. Leaders from over 20 different incubator programs from around the world spoke at the conference, and shared information about food trends, new technologies and best practices.

“The food industry is exploding,’’ said Peggy Brennan-Tonetta, Rutgers associate vice president for economic development, associate director of NJAES and co-founder of FoodBIN.   Brennan-Tonetta said the food sector has seen exponential growth since the Food Innovation Center facility in Bridgeton opened in 2001.

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