Georgia's 2013 budget includes $3.5 million to construct a long-awaited facility where University of Georgia food scientists in Griffin, Ga., will help businesses launch new food products and processes.
The UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the Griffin-Spalding County Development Authority have been seeking funds for the project since 2005. The university and the authority will each add $1 million to the construction fund.
Food PIC building
The funds will be combined to construct a dedicated Food Product Innovation and Commercialization building on the UGA campus in Griffin, Ga. Food PIC is a partnership between small-food-business entrepreneurs, the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the Griffin-Spalding County community.
"We work directly with food companies and entrepreneurs to develop new products and processes, to improve their profitability and to create jobs in Georgia," said Dick Phillips, the UGA food scientist who leads the Food PIC project.
Phillips and his colleagues currently work under tight conditions and have even had to keep some of their equipment in storage due to lack of space.
"The new building will house a pilot plant and laboratory spaces for cold temperature work, wet processing and dry processing, as well as quality control labs," he said. "It will supplement but not replace existing laboratories in the (food science building) on the Griffin campus."
Only one in Southeast
The Food PIC project at UGA will be the only one of its kind in the Southeast and was created in response to the high failure rate — 80 percent — of new food products, Phillips said.