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Center for Innovative Food Technology, 2010 Program

Beck, David
Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT)
Start date
End date
The CIFT program includes several different areas of focus: New Product Development, Process Development and Improvement, Small Scale Process Development, and Technology Commercialization.

The specific objectives for each of these are as follows.

  • The objectives of the New Product Development category are to identify several new value added food product concepts, and demonstrate that their production is both technically and economically feasible. CIFT's functional food work will be a major component.
  • The objectives of the Process Development and Improvement category of CIFT research are to identify candidate technologies or techniques that have the potential for improving food product safety, improving food product quality and consistency, or reducing the costs associated with the production of a processed food item. Process control, quality management, and minimal processing technique projects will be major components of this category.
  • The specific objectives of the Small Scale Process Development and Demonstration are to identify, refine, and evaluate technologies that are specifically applicable to smaller producers and processors. A major segment of CIFT work in this area is represented by the minimal processing and advanced growing system efforts undertaken in the past year.
  • The objective of the Technology Commercialization program as with the other programs mentioned above is to enhance the economic competitiveness of the industries that supply the Nation's food processing industry with equipment, packaging, ingredients, and other ancillary items.
More information
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: The Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) is a not for profit research organization whose mission is to support technology based economic development throughout the food processing and value added agricultural business sectors of the regional and national economy. CIFT provides services to support entities at all stages of the food industry supply chain, including the manufacturers of processing equipment, packaging, ingredients, and all other components. One significant component of the CIFT program is its applied research initiative, through which it identifies opportunities to engage research professionals from academic and industry partners in "problem solving", late stage research which can increase the economic performance of the food processing and agricultural sectors, thereby supporting and enhancing its ability to create and sustain employment in the industry. In order to develop solutions that support this goal, CIFT has developed a process for identifying potential solutions to problems and opportunities for improvements, and for managing projects to evaluate the technical, economic, and business feasibility of the solutions. CIFT projects are oriented toward commercial application of results in the near term, and toward tangible, measurable benefits to sectors within the industry. Specifically, CIFT seeks to identify project opportunities whose solutions will result in economic benefit to the industry through Developing techniques that result in the improvement of food safety, or in the enhancement of food quality.The improvement of industry profitability through a reduction in processing costs. Enhancing the profitability of a segment of the food processing industry supply chain through the development and commercial introduction of new or improved products. All CIFT projects are suggested and/or supported by private sector members of the food industry. CIFT has also, because of relationships with members of the industry, developed several technical areas of focus. These include new product development (particularly of high value, "functional food" products and ingredients), process improvement (with additional emphasis on process control applications, and on minimal processing techniques), the commercial application of new or emerging technologies, and the application of technologies and techniques that enhance food safety.

APPROACH: CIFT receives proposals from member companies, organizations, and institutions.All proposals are evaluated for industry relevance, technical merit, and adequacy of a commercialization plan. The procedures and criteria used for evaluation of proposals includes the following items. Each proposed subcontractor will submit a full academic and professional resume, explaining any and all academic and professional experience with relevance to the project. Past publications and projects must be detailed, along with the proposed subcontractor's rationale for his selection as primary investigator. A clear statement of research objectives will be provided, demonstrating the researcher's understanding of the problem, and the justification for the proposed solution. Documentation of the novel nature of the potential solution will be provided, eliminating potential redundancy. Each proposed subcontractor will submit a written explanation of benefits on an industry-wide basis, beyond the participants in the project. A detailed work plan will accompany each proposal to be evaluated. The plan will enumerate all major tasks to be performed, the goal of each step. And the expected outcomes at each step. An estimated timetable for the start and completion dates for each task must accompany the work plan. A plan for preparing interim progress reports to CIFT management must be submitted.A detailed budget will be prepared and submitted. This document must be consistent with CSREES guidelines, and provide sufficient data to adequately evaluate the potential success of the project.A clearly defined plan for technology transfer, that is, for implementation of the project results upon completion and dissemination of the project results to the industry in general. A plan for implementation of the research results, either through adoption by industry participants, or by commercial introduction of a new technical solution, will be prepared or submitted.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
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Project number
Accession number
Food Defense and Integrity
Natural Toxins
Viruses and Prions
Bacterial Pathogens
Chemical Contaminants
Packaging Residues