The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Regional Office II launched the Food Innovation Center (FIC) during the opening day of the Northern Luzon Cluster Fair at the Cagayan State University - Carig Campus, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan. The Center is envisioned to help transform the agriculture-based Cagayan Valley into a food processing haven. A one-stop-shop food research and development center, it aims to improve the region’s local food products to reach a sizeable share of the local and national markets.
Housed at the Center are locally developed food technology equipment designed to fit the needs of the local industry. Among such equipment are the vertical fill form seal for the packaging solid food products; vacuum packaging for meat and dried fruit products; freeze dryer for dehydrating heat-sensitive food products; vacuum fryer;
Water retort for sterilizing glass and PET or polyethylene Therepthalate bottles; spray dryer for making powdered products; pulverizer/grinder for grinding corn, nuts, rice, and other grains; deep fryer for frying chips, crackers, and fries; dough mixer, noodle maker; noodle cutter; and single-screw extruder that is used in filling snacks and breakfast cereals.
According to DOST II Regional Director Urduja Tejada, Cagayan Valley may still be relying heavily on its agricultural products but it is now time to add more value to crops through processing and product development. On the competition in the processed food sector in the local market, Dir. Tejada is positive that with the Center, more local small entrepreneurs in the region will be able to create new products and expand through the equipment and services offered by the Center.
Aside from the food technology equipment, other services offered by the Center include the use of the research and testing laboratory, technology information system, trainings, consultancies, and packaging and labeling.
Mentioning the ubiquitous banana chips as an example, Dir. Tejada says that through the Center, the product packaging and label, usually plastic and photocopied paper respectively, can now be made more durable, attractive and competitive in the market.
“The product can also undergo shelf-life testing, nutritional labeling, food quality and safety testing,” she says.
Meanwhile, CSU Chief Executive Officer Archimedes Articulo says that the Center can be a venue for the University to perform its various functions, such as instruction, research, extension and production, benefitting the students, faculty, community, enterprises, and cooperatives.
The Food Innovation Center at the CSU is the first in Luzon and second in the country, with the pioneering Center launched in Davao City last May. Another Center is expected to be established soon in the Visayas Region. (S&T Media Service, DOST-STII)
TAPI Director Edgar Garcia, CSU President Romeo Quilang and Tuguegarao Vice Mayor Engelbert Caronan try the great-tasting but healthy vacuum fried okra and potatoes processed in the locally-developed vacuum fryer. The fryer and other DOST-developed food processing equipment are the main facilities in the Food Innovation Center recently launched at the Cagayan State University-Carig campus. The Center, the second of its kind in the country, is expected to spur the growth of the food industry in Luzon. (S&T Media Service)