The UGA FoodPIC team (Dr. Kirk Kealey, Dr. Dick Phillips, Lauren Hatcher, Bobby Goss, and Gana Otgonbayar) were heavily involved in the 2018 Flavor of Georgia Contest in Atlanta on March 20. This UGA sponsored contest solicits product submissions from food entrepreneurs and companies across Georgia. This year's event had 125 submissions.
University of Georgia scientists are now better equipped to help businesses launch new food products with the opening of the Food Technology Center, locally known as the FoodPIC building, on the UGA Griffin campus. The facility houses the university’s Food Product Innovation and Commercialization, or FoodPIC, Center.
The $7.4 million project was funded through $3.5 million from the state of Georgia and additional funds from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Griffin-Spalding Development Authority and the University of Georgia.
The state-of-the-art 14,500-square-foot facility was dedicated on Jan. 30 with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Speakers at the ceremony included Board of Regents Chairman Dr. C. Thomas Hopkins Jr., state Rep. David Knight (R-Griffin), Chairman of the Griffin-Spalding Development Authority Board Charles Copeland, Dean and Director of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Sam Pardue, and Pike County STEM Academy student Nikki Dodson, along with UGA President Jere W. Morehead.
“The Food Product Innovation and Commercialization Center is an outstanding example of the University of Georgia using its resources to help strengthen our state’s economy,” Morehead said. “We are grateful for the support we have received for the new Food Technology Center, and we are excited to expand the reach of FoodPIC within the global food industry.”
Tucked into a corner of the University of Georgia’s campus in Griffin, Georgia, FoodPIC is an innovative research center that could be a key component in bringing business and industry to the state. UGA’s Food Product Innovation and Commercialization Center (FoodPIC) is already a valuable asset to Sean McMillan, UGA’s Atlanta-based economic development director, when he meets with companies interested in moving to Georgia. There are only 13 similar facilities in the U.S., the closest in North Carolina and Tennessee.
“If we’re competing with a state that doesn’t have something like this, we have an advantage,” said McMillan. “It’s an asset and we’re communicating that to companies that are looking to expand their existing operations or establish a presence here.”
FoodPIC, which will soon occupy a new 14,500-square-foot facility in Griffin, assists companies in developing new food products efficiently and economically. Faculty in the UGA Department of Food Science and Technology, part of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, initiated the center.
Among the products in development are nut milks, hot sauces and meat rubs. Faculty members are also exploring blueberry wine and carbonated yogurt, and studying the shelf life of these and other novel food products.
A neat, long pile of soil anchored with red handled shovels standing at attention waited under blue skies and perfect fall temperatures as a crowd gathered to witness the long awaited groundbreaking for the UGA Griffin Food Technology Center on Friday, October 17th. The event was more a celebration of the culmination of local, university and state efforts to build this world class center a proper home from which to operate. Gov. Nathan Deal, UGA President Jere Morehead, Regent Tommy Hopkins, Rep. David Knight and Griffin Spalding Development Authority Chairman Chuck Copeland all spoke to the gathering, reminding everyone of the importance of the FoodPIC Center to the community, the university, the country and the world.
Let the dirt be turned! View the ceremony photos here.
Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson and Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black came to Griffin on June 19 for a tour of the campus. The tour included updates on existing projects between Georgia Tech researchers and UGA Center for Food Safety scientists and research on parasites, pathogens on cantaloupes and an antimicrobial food rinse developed by CFS Director Michael Doyle and research scientist Tong Zhao. The guests also sampled Georgia blueberries in the sensory lab and heard updates on blueberry and poultry projects conducted in the Food Innovation and Commercialization Center. University System of Georgia Regent and local orthopedic surgeon Dr. Tommy Hopkins organized and attended the tour. State Representative David Knight was also on hand participating in campus tour.