NEW FOOD INNOVATION CENTER AWARDED TO THE UNIVERSIDAD DE TALCA

THE INITIATIVE FOCUSES ON PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AND MARKETING IN THE FIELD OF PROCESSED FOODS, VIA THE IMPLEMENTATION OF SPECIFIC PREMISES TO THAT END.



August 5, 2016

A world-level technological Center for food innovation is the new project awarded by Corfo to our University jointly with other three institutions with the purpose of promoting new developments and innovations in order to diversify the Chilean food matrix.

The University of Chile, the PUC (P. Catholic University) and the Universidad de la Frontera also participate in the initiative, with an investment of nine billion pesos (US$ 13,8 M, approx.) over ten years. Co-executors include Fraunhofer Chile and the Fundación Chile foundation and eventual partnerships with other institutions, like Conicyt and Chilealimentos are sought.

The Food Innovation Center (Ceta, in Spanish) will be devoted to the development and marketing of products in the field of processed foods. To that respect, the Vice President for Innovation and Technological Transfer, Gonzalo Herrera, argued that the value chain in research and development in the food area in Chile is incomplete, and from this shortcoming many of the difficulties to link research institutions or universities with companies arise.

"On the one hand, you have the universities that do research with results in the food area, and on the other hand, you have an industry generating new products, but they are requesting these institutions to participate of this process. The link between these parties requires an infrastructure that is very scarce in Chile, like technological institutes or R&D organizations, where research and results are joined and respond to the requirements of the productive sector ", he said.

"That is the need addressed by Ceta: to implement capacities in the country to allow testing and developing new products that are market-oriented and which derive from research results", said Herrera. Ceta customers will be entrepreneurs, small businesses, medium and consolidated companies that seek to generate innovative products in the food area and that, because of lack of access, are unable to achieve this goal.
In addition to diversifying and making more sophisticated the Chilean food matrix for export purposes, this pilot Center will seek the generation and insertion of advanced human capital, and to contribute to the regional growth of the food industry.

"Today, we have very small test levels in terms of labs and large productive plants. An intermediate size, to test new prototypes and developments, is precisely what this new Center for food innovation will bring, basically", said Herrera.



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