Rutgers Food Innovation Center Overview

Welcome to the website of the Rutgers Food Innovation Center!

The Food Innovation Center is a unique business incubation and economic development accelerator program, which is part of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Our Center provides business and technology expertise to startup and established food and value-added agriculture businesses in New Jersey and the surrounding region, and we utilize our outreach capacity to reach the food industry throughout the world.  As a way to share our experiences with others, a complete overview of our Center can be found by clicking here.


We are extremely pleased that the Rutgers Food Innovation Center has been internationally recognized for our efforts, and has been recognized by:

  • National Business Incubation Association as its 2007 “Incubator of the Year” among its global membership
  • USDA CSREES with its Partnership Award, based upon a national innovative program model, effective and efficient use of resources, mission integration, and multistate efforts and impacts
  • USDA Rural Development as a national “Agricultural Innovation Center Demonstration Program,”, based upon a demonstrated track record of achieving value-added successes through use of highly qualified and experienced personnel, a well-developed work plan with an emphasis on economic development, and a commitment to community partnerships
  • PlanSmart NJ with its Economic Development Achievement Award , based upon sound land use planning, regional cooperation, and impacts in economic development.
  • Rutgers University with its Rutgers Presidential Award for Service to New Jersey, for contributions to the health and economic well-being of communities across New Jersey
  • Designated as Soft Landings site by NBIA, due to our focus on international business attraction. There are only 24 NBIA-recognized Soft Landings programs globally, and the Rutgers Food Innovation Center is the only Soft Landings food incubation program in the world

Our outstanding team has provided a full range of services to hundreds of clients to date, since our operations began in 2001.  Our clients include:

  • Farmers and Cooperatives desiring to create new businesses based on value-added agricultural products or considering new markets for their existing commodities;
  • Startup Food Companies coping with challenges such as financing, technology, regulations, market development and other infrastructure requirements;
  • Existing small and mid-sized food companies seeking to access new technologies, upgrade quality assurance capabilities, enter new markets, and expand and improve their operations; and
  • Retail and Foodservice Establishments seeking to improve their operations and purchase locally grown New Jersey products

We operate from a 23,000 sq. ft. food business incubator facility in Bridgeton NJ, which allows us to design, develop, market, analyze, commercialize, and manufacture products, for sale to retail and foodservice markets.  Our facility is under inspection of the USDA and FDA, and we have very specific requirements for how potential clients can work with our staff and within our facility.   

Based in Bridgeton (Cumberland County), New Jersey, we are geographically located at the hub of New Jersey’s agricultural sector and in an area that has been economically devastated over the past few decades. To create jobs in this region, a strong, viable food industry is critically needed, and the Food Innovation Center was developed as a catalyst for this growth.   

We are extremely thankful for the strong federal, state, and community support we have received, which has enabled us to make such significant progress in such a relatively short period of time.  Funding to the Food Innovation Center to date has originated from the Rutgers NJ Agricultural Experiment Station; US Department of Agriculture; US Economic Development Administration; State of New Jersey; NJ Casino Reinvestment Development Authority; NJ Commission on Science & Technology; NJ Department of Agriculture; the Cumberland Empowerment Zone; and the City of Bridgeton NJ.
We invite you to browse our website and learn more about what the Food Innovation Center can do for you. If you have any questions, or would like to receive more information, please contact any member of our Food Innovation Center team.