Food Innovation

Middlesex County is where breakthrough innovations in the food industry are developed, tested, and brought to market. Local farmers work with Rutgers Extension colleagues to establish a food production industry that is not only sustainable but innovative, being among the first in the state to initiate a program that uses advanced drone technology to monitor local pest populations. The County’s researchers also lead the industry in integrated pest management (IPM) techniques, reducing the need for pesticides and helping to keep the nation’s food supply safe and nutritious. Above all, living in Middlesex County means being a part of a tradition of innovation that has brought the culinary world the Rutgers Scarlet strawberry, Scarlet Fire Dogwood fruit, the Crimson Queen cranberry, and the recent disease-resistant Rutgers hazelnut.

In partnership with Rutgers University in New Jersey’s famed Research Corridor, entrepreneurs from all over the world come to New Jersey today to take advantage of the innovative environment unique to in Middlesex County. It’s here that cutting-edge concepts in food cultivation and preparation are designed and brought to market, driving both the local economy and going on to make a global impact.

Another example of Middlesex County’s vibrant food innovation scene is Dr. Albert Ayeni. Dr. Ayeni immigrated to Middlesex County from Nigeria to work with the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. At this innovative facility, he established hydroponic greenhouses to experiment with vertical farming and other unique forms of agriculture. His developments have been transforming crop cultivation in dense or mixed-use urban areas, suburban environments, and more traditional farming communities. Every day, Dr. Ayeni and his colleagues develop new ideas that may one day change the way the world produces and consumes food, adding to Middlesex County’s impressive record of impacting the agriculture industry locally, regionally, and globally.

Facts about the food industry.

Food Innovation Center

The FIC is a premier business incubator and accelerator offering specialized training and services (food safety, business training, and a food acceleration program) and a place where entrepreneurs and researchers work together to develop and launch high-concept food products. The center is the only food product manufacturing and shared-use food facility in the world that acts as an official “soft landing” site for U.S. and international companies, providing technical mentoring, consumer research, prototype development, product packaging, and other support for entrepreneurs seeking to break into North American markets. The vast array of training, mentoring, and product manufacturing services at FIC are available to any food and beverage company in the US or abroad that desires an optimized product launch, high-quality consumer research, and professional development support.

New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station

As an integral part of scientific study and research at Rutgers University, the NJAES is where innovators test (and taste!) new ideas in agriculture, applying scientific principles and methodology to food cultivation and consumption. Using NJAES resources and novel cultivation methods, food researchers produced the uniquely tasty Rutgers Scarlet strawberry, designed and produced right here in Middlesex County, alongside others in Rutgers’ series of innovative produce including the Crimson Queen cranberry and Rutgers Scarlet dogwood. No doubt, more one-of-a-kind products originating at the NJAES will be on the way to market this year!

Food Business Incubation Network (FoodBIN)

In partnership with the International Business Innovation Association, the FoodBIN addresses the ever-evolving needs of the global food industry. As tastes and preparation methods around the world change so rapidly, the FoodBIN provides a vast network of scientists, chefs, and entrepreneurs who work together to identify programs, services, funding sources and partnerships for emerging food businesses. This enables them to meet increasing consumer demands and create robust, tested go-to-market strategies that greatly increase their chances for successful product launch.

Let us tell you how our food and agriculture innovations and investments, among other policies, will transform your business operations and elevate employee quality of life.To learn more about the benefits of locating your business in Middlesex County, enter your email here.

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