Proposed test kitchen could benefit mid-sized businesses, increase Michigan jobs


Proponents of a proposed test kitchen and production line near Lansing say the center could bring $300 to $400 million in sales and 1,000 jobs annually to the state. The mock production line, to be managed by the Michigan State University Product Center, would allow mid-sized food industry businesses to set up an entire-food processing line from start to finish and sell their product to test markets to gauge its success.

According to the project plan, businesses would have access to a workspace, food-processing equipment and training from Michigan State’s School of Packaging and the product development center in order to help expand their products. Proponents say it would be especially beneficial for mid-sized companies who lack the financial capabilities accessible to large firms, as well as the local opportunities available for smaller businesses, such as innovation kitchens.

Officials have already completed a feasibility study and business plan for the $5.25 million facility, and the  Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Agency have committed $1 and $2.5 million to the project, respectively. The remaining funding will most likely be procured from the university and food industry businesses, with possibly some help from the legislature, if needed.

The project has support from several other Michigan groups and organizations, including the Michigan Farm Bureau and Cherry Capital Foods in Traverse City.

Read more about this project here.