LINCOLN, Neb. — Helping Nebraskans cook up innovation, the Food Processing Center turns recipes into reality, and finds new ways to use the crops Nebraska grows so well.
The former state fair park is now the Nebraska Innovation Campus, which includes the Food Processing Center, and test kitchen.
“We come in here and use this large kitchen and large equipment and helps save us a lot of time,” said Nate Blum of the Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board who was in the pilot kitchen recently.
Home cooks who want to turn their secret recipe into grocery store reality can start here.
FPC Director Terry Howell explained, “We do product development work, process development, we do labeling work, we support companies with sensory testing.”
The Food Processing Center can help someone navigate regulatory hurdles, and find ingredients that’ll hold up on store shelves without losing taste or texture.
Howell said, “We make sure the process still works, the product looks the same, tastes the same, and has all the characteristics the designer of that product was hoping for.”
They help many name brands you’ll see at the store, but also Nebraska entrepreneurs.
“Looking for ways to add value to food and agricultural commodities that are grown in Nebraska. So much of that is transported across state lines and turned into value for someone else. If we can help people create value in the state, we're all about that,” Howell said.
As the leader of the “Sorghum Army”, Nate Blum sees value in Nebraska encouraging food innovation.
“Nebraska's proximate not only to industry but center of the country. It makes all the sense in the world to be a hub for ag tech innovation,” he said.
More than a big kitchen, the food center offers labs that can understand what’s in food like fat, carbs, and more.
And it’s just one piece of Nebraska Innovation Campus’ bigger focus.
“We support the culture of innovation for the state, allowing us to provide a lot of services and value that not many other states can offer,” Howell said.
And you can taste those sorghum cookies for yourself on weekends at this year’s State Fair and also at Husker Harvest Days.
By: Steve White, NTV