The challenge facing the food industry is how firms grow as they balance consumer and customer concerns related to convenience, value, and the triad of health, nutrition, and vitality against an increasingly competitive operating environment. At the forefront of these shifing industry indicators is the need to meet changing consumer preferences by changing the dynamics of the foodservice industry. It wil be necessary to implement a competitive market place for food that will address current health claims that may be influential on consumer choice. The objectives can be met by applying the latest scientific advancements to product development in a collaborative effort through Penn State's center for Food Innovation (CFI). By combining faculty from various disciplines including the School of Hospitality Management, Nutritional Sciences, and Agribusiness, the Center has a unique opportunity to look outside the conventional R&D approach to meet the changing needs by consumers and scientific findings alike.
In Pennsylvania, the firms engaged in food manufacturing activity are the smaller operations with no distinct units devoted to R&D, marketing, production management, etc. A resource such as CFI has the potential to add considerable value to this industry's activities. The CFI is an opportunity to provide focused product development support to many of these firms that lack the specialized expertise in house to engage in all phases of the product innovation process and, being smaller, tend to be financially constrained, limiting their ability to outsource product development activities.
The mission is to provide comprehensive assistance to the food and foodservice industries to promote consumer-responsive and fiscally responsible food research. The Center offers research development and outreach opportunities in seven critical areas: new product development, nutrition and health, food safety, culinary science, ergonomics, marketing (particularly based on nutritional claims), and consumer behavior by demography.
- To address the food manufacturing and service industries' needs to answer questions regarding the relationship between food and health with interdisciplinary perspectives.
- To support the growth of food industries and health research projects and proposals by adding to an extant body of knowledge.
- To facilitate and increase faculty and student exposure to emerging industry issues.
- To partner with government and other agencies to facilitate the transfer of current reseearch to both theoretical and applied problems.
- Peter Bordi
- Ron Deis
- Franco Harris
- John O'Neil