University of Georgia's Food Product Innovation and Commercialization Center

Recently, I toured the University of Georgia's Food Product Innovation and Commercialization Center in Griffin, Georgia.  It is a state-of-the-art 14,500-square-foot facility  that assists companies in developing new food products efficiently and economically.

The $7.4 million center was made possible through a collaborative effort that included funding from the state of Georgia, U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Griffin-Spalding Development Authority and the University. 

Data from the Georgia Department of Economic Development show that more 225 food processing companies opened or expanded operations in Georgia in the past decade, investing more than $2.6 billion in our state. Georgia’s thriving agricultural industry plays a critical role in the success of food processing here, as do the state’s strengths in logistics and infrastructure.

Kirk Kealey, whose career in food development includes launching products for General Mills, M&M Mars Inc. and PepsiCo Inc., became director of FoodPIC in 2015. 

Past FoodPIC projects include improved drying technologies for Georgia’s rabbiteye blueberries, frozen desserts using Georgia fruits and a grain-based milk beverage now being produced in California. 
FoodPIC is designed for short-term partnerships between food entrepreneurs and UGA scientists, not long-term food production and packaging. 

 "FoodPIC is where food entrepreneurs go with their ideas, and we turn them into reality—into physical prototypes that they can eat.” Kealy said. “If they decide they want to continue their journey, we can help them with process development, package development, shelf stable studies, thermal process validation and the nutrition facts panel." 

The new Food Technology Center in Griffin, and the equipment now housed in it, gives the UGA faculty working there the ability to develop larger batches and more finished products. In the past, the scientists were constrained by the size of the existing small, pilot plant.  
UGA's Food Product Innovation and Commercialization Center
 has an international reach.

The only cacao plant in Georgia.

It's wine time!

UGA's Food Product Innovation and Commercialization Center's
products and awards.

The ONLY Indian food in Griffin.

Bertazzoni, because only the best will do.

State-of-the-art beverage equipment.
Engineering at its finest.
Forget pipe dreams, these pipes are a work of art.

The rooftop view boasts these beautiful
chrome exhaust stacks.
For more information on the FoodPIC Center, go to


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Bonnie Morét is an award-winning photographer recognized by The Georgia Council of the Arts as "an exceptional representation of contemporary Georgia art work." Her photography is featured on Georgia Public Broadcast's Georgia Traveler. Her exhibitions include Fifth Annual Exposure Awards at Musee du Louvre in Paris, France, Art Takes Miami at Scope Art during Art Basel Miami, Metro Montage XIII at the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art, World of Water at the Georgia Aquarium, Open Walls at Black Box Gallery in Portland, Oregon, Wholly Georgia: A Look at the Effects of Southern Religious Culture, sponsored by the Art History League and Georgia State University, at Mint Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia, 6x6 at the Rochester Contemporary Arts Center in Rochester, New York, @Phonography: Dialogue in the Wireless Age, at 3 Ring Circus in New Orleans, Louisiana, and About Lands and Lives of the Civil War at the 6th Cavalry Museum in Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia. Her photography appears in Modern Luxury/The Atlantan, Jezebel Magazine, and hangs in the executive offices at the Georgia State Capitol as part of the Art of Georgia exhibit. Corporate clients include Atlanta Ballet, Atlanta History Center, Chanel Cosmetics, Christian Dior Cosmetics, Sharp Mountain Vineyards, PM Realty Group, Granite Properties, Road Atlanta, Patrón Tequila, StubHub, CBM Records and The Washington Auto Show.