Can Magic Valley Support a Food Innovation Center?

From an outside perspective, it seems as if Magic Valley has all the components to create a successful food innovation center. So why does it not exist yet?

In response to an PRF issued by Region IV Development, a study is under way for a Food Innovation Center and Business incubator that would support the counties of Blaine, Camas, Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka, and Twin Falls. This study is lead by KRNLS and supported by Plaka + Associates.

The South-central Idaho economy is strongly backboned by the agriculture and food processing industry sectors. The Magic Valley has been labeled “America’s Most Diverse Food Basket”. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Commerce designated South-central Idaho as an “All Things Food” Manufacturing Community. The creation of a food innovation center and business incubator will provide opportunities for entrepreneurs, food companies, small businesses, and existing processors as well as for dairymen, farmers, and ranchers to develop, test, and bring new products and services to the marketplace. The envisioned facility will have components such as a commercial kitchen, laboratories, cold storage, research facilities, classrooms, event space, office space, commercial/retail space, sales/marketing space, and other components and resources such as: business plan preparation, legal, finance, marketing, messaging, packaging, food safety and regulatory support, processing capabilities, connection to suppliers, distributors, and retailers, all of which, are integral components to commercializing a food product.

The involvement of CSI, U of I, and other partners are critical to the success of this

initiative. This food innovation center and business incubator will not only benefit entrepreneurs

and food processing companies but can also serve our regional educational partners. This

facility can be used by educators to train with the most modern and latest food science

technology available to better prepare students to enter the workforce. Allowing educators to use this space will help students learn in the classroom and transition that knowledge to hands-on experience. This center will enhance public-private partnerships and collaboration that will further strengthen the economy in South-central Idaho.

This study explores the sustainability and feasibility of such a space existing in Magic Valley.