March/April 2019 - 11

NEW FACIL ITY
access to sophisticated equipment
plus the universities resources, but
with the additional ability to be sell
products produced there to recapture
costs and mitigate risk of investment
of expansion for companies.
Big three machines
While the facility has drawn plenty
of interest from the original target
companies, the staff learned quickly
that larger companies are chomping at
the bit as well. Their interest stems from
FPIC's unique collection of equipment.
Both Birbeck and Hofman cited three
large items that stand out to processors.
" The three biggest pieces we have
are the spiral oven, spiral freezer and
retort machine, " Birbeck said. " They're
very expensive pieces. You don't just
run out and pick one up. ... The stage
3 companies - the big boys - really
like the idea because it is a facility that
doesn't have the same things as their
own R&D plant. With ever-changing
worlds and ever-changing markets
and innovations, they view the FPIC
EQUIPMENT
" Not only can (companies) come
in here and do proof of concept,
they can do full runs and sell into
the marketplace. "
- Matt Birbeck, Director of the Food Processing and Innovation Center
at Michigan State University
as being a very unique in that they
can come here, make product lines
with typical pieces of equipment that
their own R&D facilities don't have. "
Thus far, Birbeck said FPIC clientele
is an even split between stage 2 and
stage 3 companies.
Compliance
Both Birbeck and Hofman said the
ability to create sellable products is
what sets the FPIC apart (although
some of their clientele is just looking
to experiment). The compliance
and regulation aspect
requires a
lot of attention. Hofman and Tina
Conklin,director, accelerated growth
services, are licensed in numerous areas
of food safety.
" We have a small team of people
that works on food safety issues. The
regulations are constantly, constantly
changing. It's a challenge, " Hofman
said. " If we have six or 10 clients in a
calendar year, we potentially have to
write six or 10 different food safety
systems. We may use it one or two times
and never use it again, so it's a constant
drafting of food safety documents. "
Hofman said prospective clients
are often surprised at what the FPIC
is capable of doing.
PRODUCE PROCESS ING
11

March/April 2019

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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/PRO/november-december-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/PRO/september-october-2020
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