LSU AgCenter Food Incubator production doubles in 2015

Olivia McClure, Sandoz, Gaye  |  12/8/2015 2:17:27 AM

News Release Distributed 12/07/15

BATON ROUGE, La. – Production at the LSU AgCenter Food Incubator has more than doubled this year. Tenants made more than 44 tons of their unique food products at the incubator in 2015, up from 21 tons in 2014.

The Food Incubator has come a long way since it opened in 2013 with just a few tenants who produced 3.5 tons, said incubator director Gaye Sandoz.

Sandoz credits AgCenter food scientists Luis Espinoza, Marvin Moncada and Gabriela Crespo for helping tenants formulate innovative products and increase output to meet growing demand from local retailers.

“Dr. Espinoza, Dr. Moncada and Dr. Crespo have done a wonderful job juggling the production and tenants with the limited space that we have,” she said. “We are in need of a larger facility and looking at different options for our future growth.”

Some tenants have spent hundreds of hours in the incubator kitchen this year. Among the top producers are salad dressing companies Re: and Hanley’s and pickle company Alvin Ray’s, each of which produced more than 10,000 pounds in 2015.

Food Incubator products have a rapidly growing presence in retail stores, Sandoz said.

“City Gelato and Truly Southern Pretzel Crunch have tripled their store presence in the Louisiana market in 2015,” she said of two incubator tenants. “They attribute their fast growth to the AgCenter Food Incubator and to our local grocery stores for buying Louisiana-made products.”

The incubator currently has 29 tenants and a waitlist of about 20 entrepreneurs. The incubator offers entrepreneurs the resources and expertise they need to test, produce and sell high-quality foods that are Louisiana-made in a Food and Drug Administration-approved facility.

Olivia McClure

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