Innovative foods are developed in the SUA Food Incubator
by SPU Web Editor
Thanks to the modern infrastructure, companies, students and startups will be able to test their innovative ideas. New programs in the form of mentoring and coaching are being prepared for budding entrepreneurs in the food industry, which will be valuable help in developing innovative products or improving their recipes.
The food incubator was created in a renovated building on the university campus as part of the Drive4SIFood project. It creates space for pilot testing of products. "For start-up companies, investing in building infrastructure is a big financial burden. If the company is included in the upcoming program, it can test its idea with us. After the product is launched on the market, it will then evaluate whether the offered product is interesting for consumers and, at the same time, whether it has economic potential for the company," said the director of AgroBioTech, Lucia Gabríny. The second dimension of the Food Incubator is that startups and spin-offs can be created within it, as the ambition of the project is also the commercialization of its own products under the name of the university.
After the food operation is approved, SUA students and employees will be able to find some of the products in the cafeterias and the public will be able to taste them at events organized by the university. Currently, experts in the Food Incubator are working on the development of optimal wafer recipes. In addition to the classic ones - made of milk, sugar, flour and vanilla - they are trying out substitutes with the addition of green tea, cinnamon, coffee, orange and edible flowers, as well as vegan versions with oat milk. "The dough had very good properties, the consistency and taste was surprising. A disinterested individual would not have a chance to recognize that classic milk is missing from the formula, but is replaced by alternative milk," L. Gabríny pointed out. Since today there is an interest in enriched innovative products, they tried adding green barley, chokeberry, honeydew, green coffee, gingerbread spices or even pieces of dried orange to the recipe.
The target group of the Food Incubator is also students and young people with entrepreneurial ambitions who are interested in applying the results of research activities in the form of an innovative product with high added value. It can be, for example, food made from non-traditional ingredients or enriched with nutritionally significant ingredients. Educational and training programs, mentoring and informal training in order to develop the necessary technological and entrepreneurial skills are an important part of the project.
The food incubator consists of three parts: a technological preparation room for products, a center for the development of cereal products and a center for the development of beverages. Its basic infrastructure has already been built, and in the future the university and the research center would like to expand it as part of other projects. For example, vegetable and fruit juices, syrups and concentrates, soft drinks, jams, spreads, mustards, pastes, durable pastries, wafers, biscuits and pasta can be produced here.