Since the Food Innovation Center at Rutgers University was established in 2000, we have received many highly competitive awards for our economic development, business and technical programming, and community engagement, while servicing hundreds of food and agricultural businesses throughout the years.
In 1992, Rutgers University began its foray into food production in Piscataway, with government grant work on packaging of MRE meals (ready to eat) for the Department of Defense Logistics. This work in combination with a research assessment and feasibility study ultimately identified the need for a facility that would later become the Food Innovation Center at Rutgers University.
A timeline of some of our greatest achievements…….
Research Assessment & Feasibility Study
Led by Dr. Soji Adelaja, to understand and identify the opportunities and challenges for businesses in the food and agricultural industries.
Based on the research assessment, Dr. Peggy Brennan-Tonetta led the development and establishment of the Food Innovation Center and opened the initial office on Commerce Street in Bridgeton, NJ. Lou Cooperhouse hired as Executive Director
Designated an Agricultural Innovation Center Demonstration Program
Only 1 of 10 Centers in USA – USDA Rural Development: $1.0 MM Award
Center management raised $8.0 million to design and build a unique 23,000 square-foot food business incubator and processing facility.
Awarded “Incubator of the Year”
Awarded “Incubator of the Year” in the Services and Manufacturing category, among incubators globally – NBIA National Business Incubator Association
Partnership Award for Innovative Program Models
National Winner of Partnership Award for Innovative Program Models for “achievement as a model for community and economic development and jobs creation”
USDA-CREES Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service
Official opening of the Food Innovation Center – Food Business Incubator and Processing Facility
Rutgers Presidential Award
Rutgers Presidential Award for Research Service to New Jersey
First Production Client
Schar USA – Assisted with Marketing Research, R&D, Food Safety Plans, Engineering and Production of Schar’s initial US commercial production of gluten free baked goods
Economic Development Achievement Award
Economic Development Achievement Award “as a model of sound land use planning, regional cooperation and impacts in economic development” – PlanSmart, NJ
Designated as Soft Landings Site
Designated as Soft Landings site, due to our focus on international business attraction and food incubation – INBIA – A global network of incubators, accelerators and other entrepreneurship centers
Salute to Business and Industry Award
Recipient of the Annual Bridgeton Area Chamber of Commerce Salute to Business and Industry Award – Bridgeton Area Chamber of Commerce
Growth Accelerator Fund Competition
Winner of the premiere Growth Accelerator Fund Competition – one of only five programs recognized in the nation – US SBA Small Business Administration
Food Incubator of the Year
Awarded Food Incubator of the Year – INBIA – A global network of incubators, accelerators and other entrepreneurship centers
Guided Impossible Foods as they scaled their first commercial plant-based burgers at the Food Innovation Center in Bridgeton, NJ. Assisted the IF team with engineering, operations, food safety and R&D services.
Talent Network Leader for the Food Industry Sector
Designated as the Talent Network Leader for the Food Industry Sector to coordinate the education of a pipeline of talent and drive economic growth, working closely with manufacturers in the food sector. NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development
Research and Redefine Specialty Food Categories
Selected by the Specialty Food Association (SFA) to research and redefine specialty food categories, per the composition of this growing and evolving nearly $150 billion sector.
Incubator of the Year
Incubator of the Year – Specialty Award – INBIA – A global network of incubators, accelerators and other entrepreneurship centers
FIC hosts the 2020 sofi award judging for the Specialty Food Association.