Director - FIC South
Rutgers University Food Innovation Center
Phone: 856-459-1900 Ext: 4518
Rich is Director, Rutgers Food Innovation Center (FIC) – South, located in Bridgeton, NJ. The FIC is a world-class food business incubator and accelerator program that serves New Jersey, national and international clients in food and agriculture. The FIC provides programs in training, business and technical mentoring, and idea-to-launch food business development, including production in FDA and USDA-registered facilities. FIC was awarded Incubator of the Year by the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA).
Rich has been a senior advisor and consultant to the food and food ingredients industry. He has over 20 years’ experience in food product and technology development, leading R&D organizations at several large retail products companies, including Kraft Foods, Pepsico and ConAgra.
Most recently Richard led the product, process, pilot plant, culinary and marketing teams for ConAgra Foods consumer and private brands businesses, which employed scientists, engineers, marketers and chefs. He is best known for building and commercializing new products. These include market successes such as Trop50 ® beverages, Healthy Choice ® Frozen Yogurt, and new Quaker instant ® oatmeals.
Rich is an authority on new product development, having led all of the processes required to take a product from idea to launch: market scoping, idea development, prototyping, package/process development & scale-up, retail sell-in, marketing plan development and launch logistics. Whether launched from a start-up or established firm, new products require the same rigor to be successful. Yet product commercialization should be efficient and streamlined, taking advantage of online tools, fast-to-market principles (eg LEAN) and outsourcing opportunities afforded by our high-connection business atmosphere.
Rich’s career began at Kraft Foods as a bench scientist, developing ingredient technologies. Gaining experience in leadership at Pepsico, he built or enhanced diverse groups such as Sensory Science, Analytical Chemistry, and Product & Process development. Richard established new external partnering models with major suppliers to solve technical problems and source new opportunities. Richard was the first Director of Open Innovation at Pepsico.
Richard has a B.S. degree from Penn State University, and M.S. and Ph.D degrees from Univ. Maryland in food and agricultural sciences. He is a widely published scientific author and continues to present on the opportunities for companies to embrace R&D strategic development in US food and agriculture.