Exciting News for the North Carolina Research Campus - The General Assembly has approved $4.4 million which will be used to equip the Food Processing Innovation Center. The center will be housed at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, and will also receive $700,000 in recurring funds for leasing costs. N.C. State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are taking the helm in the creation of the center — set to open in 2018.
The funds will go towards building a GMP-compliant plant on the site — meaning not only can the on-site scientists conduct research, but companies can actually produce and sell new food products. Richard Linton, Dean of the N.C. State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said while other states have research centers, the combination of the research facilities and the GMP-compliant plant is unique.
“Say a company wanted to test three varieties of a new pizza that’s being created,” he said. “They could come in, produce it within the facility, and then they could in fact serve it and consume it.”
The goal is to give companies looking to build food manufacturing plants an incentive to expand in North Carolina, said Richard Reich, assistant commissioner for agricultural services for the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
“There’s always competition, and so what we’re trying to do is provide a comprehensive list of services and resources that would be available to show the unique opportunity in North Carolina,” he said.
Major players in the food industry have expressed interest in the project, including Nestle (VTX: NESN), General Mills (NYSE: GIS), Cargill, PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP) and Conagra (NYSE: CAG), as well as food packaging companies.
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