Food Systems Innovation Center Website

Contacts:  Gregg Rentfrow, Paul Priyesh VijayakumarMelissa Morgan, Tim Woods, and Kandice Williams.

Locally produced foods are increasing in popularity. The Kentucky Proud program promotes foods raised, grown, and/or produced within the Commonwealth. The majority of these foods are marketed at local farmer’s markets and some have become popular and/or have gained the attention of larger markets. When this happens, these entrepreneurs have question about increasing/up-scaling production, nutrition labels and analysis, determining a shelf-life, and/or marketing. The Food Systems Innovation Center (FSIC) is a multi-discipline program designed to aid Kentucky’s food entrepreneur’s answer these questions.

The FSIC is a collaborative effort between the Department of Animal and Food Science and Agricultural Economics, with associate members in the Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition and the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering. The FSIC offers a variety of services such as shelf-life determination, microbial analysis and challenge studies, nutritional label analysis, sensory evaluation, and help with marking. All with the goal of aiding Kentucky’s food entrepreneurs produce safe, wholesome, legal food products. Clients are vetted through Kandice Williams, FSIC Coordinator, to determine their needs and then
are directed to the appropriate faculty members within the FSIC. Currently, the FSIC has helped over 200 clients and over 100 products reach the marketplace. Although the FSIC is designed to aid Kentuckians, it has helped food marketers in Ohio, Tennessee, Indiana, California, and Nevada.

Education is an important part of the Food Systems Innovation Center. Agricultural Economics offers the Market Ready workshop, which outlines the steps needed to introduce a product into the marketplace. In addition, the FSIS regularly offers Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) trainings and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Better Process Control Schools. These food safety workshops/trainings are mandatory for the production of FDA and USDA foods. The educational programs offered by the FSIC have reached over 700 people from four different states.