From the Desk of Provost Whitten: Food for Thought
This blog was sourced from Written by Whitten, Provost Whitten’s blog. Click here to read the original post.
Food and food processing are big business in Georgia, so it should come as no surprise that the University of Georgia is using its expertise to strengthen one of the top growth industries in the state.
Recently, UGA broke ground on the UGA Griffin Food Technology Center, a state-of-the-art facility that will house the university’s Food Product Innovation and Commercialization (FoodPIC) Center. FoodPIC is a unit of the university’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences that assists new and existing companies in product development, packaging, food safety, consumer acceptance and marketing. It is staffed by faculty from the department of food science and technology, as well as research chefs from within the university and from private industry.
Food processing is the state’s leading manufacturing sector—with an estimated $3.5 billion in annual wages—and it is a rapidly growing industry. Over the past six years, 7,400 jobs in Georgia were created by new and expanding food processing companies, according to data from Georgia Power’s Community and Economic Development division. Large companies that have moved to Georgia or expanded their operations here include household names such as Kellogg’s and Starbucks, and FoodPIC has helped farmers and small companies produce niche products such as frozen desserts made from Georgia fruits as well as sauces and ethnic foods.
FoodPIC is the only project of its kind in the Southeast, and it is one of many examples of the role that UGA plays in economic development. The UGA Griffin Food Technology Center is strategically located just 30 miles south of the world’s busiest airport, and it will help attract food-related businesses to the nearby Lakes at Green Valley Industrial Park.
The entire campus community is grateful to Governor Nathan Deal, the General Assembly, University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby, the Board of Regents, the Griffin-Spalding Development Authority and the U.S. Economic Development Administration for their support and partnership on this important project.
UGA’s faculty in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences have helped make Georgia the nation’s top state for blueberry production, and FoodPIC is putting Georgia on course to become a national leader in food processing.