Developing Value-added Food Products
UGA’s FoodPIC (Food Product Innovation and Commercialization Center) provides technical support and engages with entrepreneurs as they develop and commercialize new food and beverage products. The mission of FoodPIC is to ensure that food entrepreneurs are compliance-ready for manufacturing safe, shelf stable and legal food products before hitting the retail shelf. In 2019, the GDA/USDA awarded the UGA FoodPIC team a Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBGP) of $100,000 to develop value-added products from pomegranate. In spring, 2020 a $30,000 grant was awarded to work on satsuma citrus. FoodPIC has also supported cutting edge research in human nutrition and disease management. The FoodPIC team developed several high protein foods for a long-term clinical trial entitled “Skeletal and Cognitive Effects of Nutrition from Eggs.” The development of “designed foods” as a delivery mechanism for nutraceutical or pharmacological components is another area of active research by medical scientists. The FoodPIC team recently developed four cookie variants, enriched with a specific blend of amino acids for an upcoming clinical trial for young patients suffering from Sickle Cell disease. In the past five years over 350 project proposals have been generated. By the end of June 2020, over 240 FoodPIC projects were successfully completed, which generated over $520,000 in fees for service. These projects represent either new or expanding food businesses that have leveraged the technical expertise at FoodPIC since 2015.