Food Entrepreneur - September 15, 2020 - 8

HIDDEN GEMS BEVERAGE CO.

Founders of Reveal,
Sheetal Bahirat, left,
and Zuri Masud.

two founders called a number of area
restaurants and asked chefs to stash pits
in a freezer instead of tossing them in
the trash.
"We talked to a lot of people that
were professionals in this field, and we
also paid a lot of money to people who
basically told us we'd never be able to
scale this up," Ms. Bahirat recalled.
Dr. Deustch steered the founders to
the Food Innovation Center at Rutgers
University. The center is staffed by nearly
a dozen industry veterans providing
food safety, product design and scale-up
expertise to early-stage entrepreneurs
and food companies. A recent client was
Impossible Foods, the well-funded producer of plant-based burger patties.
"What we bring to entrepreneurs
who may have a concept is some of the
more practical reality of, how are you
actually going to commercialize this?"
said Julie Elmer, associate director of
food technology. "There's a lot of practical things that don't occur to you when
you're making one small prototype. How
is that process going to go? What are the
costs going to be? What's the shelf life
going to be like? How is the flavor going
to stand up over time?
"There's just a million questions that
may not even occur to them at this stage."
8

Food Business News

The pandemic and subsequent
economic downturn have brought many
first-time entrepreneurs through the
doors of the Food Innovation Center as
some rethink careers or find more free
time to pursue business ideas.
"Many people we see really think
they know food," said Diane Holtaway,

Reveal avocado seed brew is the first product
from Hidden Gems Beverage Co.

HIDDEN GEMS BEVERAGE CO.

associate director of marketing and business development. "Loving and eating
food is very different than running a
successful food business."
Nolan Lewin, acting executive director and director of operations, added,
"I can't tell you how many people have a
tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce or hot
sauce or barbecue sauce recipe ... 'What
makes your product stand out?' I always
ask that of clients who come in with a
pretty common item...
"I would say probably 2 or 3 out of 10 I
might gently persuade not to pursue a particular item and tell them to go back to the
drawing board or come up with a different
concept, and occasionally they do."
The Food Innovation Center offers
a food business basics course spanning
such topics as product strategy and
development, packaging, food safety
regulations and food law. The experience
is often a make-or-break moment for aspiring entrepreneurs, Ms. Holtaway said.
"When it gets to the food safety piece,
you can see the eyes glaze over, and it's
like, 'This may not be for me,'" she said.
Many emerge from the class energized and undaunted, Ms. Elmer said.
Experienced food professionals are all
too familiar with the hurdles of a complex industry, but startup founders
September 15, 2020



Food Entrepreneur - September 15, 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food Entrepreneur - September 15, 2020

Food Entrepreneur - September 15, 2020 - 1
Food Entrepreneur - September 15, 2020 - 2
Food Entrepreneur - September 15, 2020 - 3
Food Entrepreneur - September 15, 2020 - 4
Food Entrepreneur - September 15, 2020 - 5
Food Entrepreneur - September 15, 2020 - 6
Food Entrepreneur - September 15, 2020 - 7
Food Entrepreneur - September 15, 2020 - 8
Food Entrepreneur - September 15, 2020 - 9
Food Entrepreneur - September 15, 2020 - 10
Food Entrepreneur - September 15, 2020 - 11
Food Entrepreneur - September 15, 2020 - 12
Food Entrepreneur - September 15, 2020 - 13
Food Entrepreneur - September 15, 2020 - 14
Food Entrepreneur - September 15, 2020 - 15
Food Entrepreneur - September 15, 2020 - 16
Food Entrepreneur - September 15, 2020 - 17
Food Entrepreneur - September 15, 2020 - 18
Food Entrepreneur - September 15, 2020 - 19
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/food-entrepreneur-may-10-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/food-entrepreneur-february-15-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/food-entrepreneur-october-12-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/food-entrepreneur-august-17-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/food-entrepreneur-june-22-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/food-entrepreneur-may-11-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/food-entrepreneur-march-3-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/2021_01_05
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/2020_12_08
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/2020_09_15
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/2020_06_23
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/2020_05_12
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/2020_03_03
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/2020_01_07
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com