In addition to our work with individual companies, Public Center economic and market analysts plan and conduct economic, business and market research that promotes the strategic growth of the food and agriculture sector in Michigan and its various component industries.
For example, we prepare and publish:
- Economic impact studies (dollars of economic activity and levels of employment)
- White papers on markets, consumers, technology, innovation and related strategic issues.
- Facilitate strategic working groups (virtual or traditional) focused by key sector or key issue cutting across sectors (e.g., workforce development, logistics and transportation)
- Respond to quick-turnaround assessments and analyses needed by government and industry
- Studies on the emergence of innovation, new markets and industries within food, agriculture and bioprocessing sectors.
• Strategic Planning
Strategic planning is the controlled process of developing and maintaining a strategic balance between your company’s objectives and resources and changing or emerging market opportunities. The MSU Product Center’s HI-VAT team works with clients to help define goals and objectives, conduct competitive assessments and develop strategies implementation tactics and measurement metrics.
High Impact Venture Action Team (HI-VAT) The HI-VAT team is experienced in helping companies’ complete strategic audits to ensure that resources and competencies are quantified and evaluated through resource appraisals, value chain analyses and performance analyses.
• Financial Planning
A solid financial plan helps ensure you can reasonably make a profit in your venture and validate the project to external partners, no matter what stage. With assistance from the MSU Product Center HI-VAT team, the financial planning process can be made simpler or more complex depending on several variables:
• Size of your venture
• Stage of business or product life – building a new business or expanding an existing one
• Ability to experiment during the planning process
• Risk factor of the venture
The HI-VAT team is experienced in working with stage two organizations for cost of production, marketing, distribution, sources and uses of proceeds and breakeven and related financial analyses.
• Feasibility Study
If you are looking to create a new value-added entity, add a new product line or expand your food business, a well- executed feasibility study will identify strengths and weaknesses of an existing business or proposed venture, potential market opportunities and threats, resource requirements needed for implementation, and the comprehensive chances for success.
The MSU Product Center’s HI-VAT team specializes in applied economic analysis of agriculture, food and bioeconomy issues and works with clients to determine a project’s viability through outlined objectives and scopes of a business feasibility study.
Feasibility studies will encompass a review of all aspects of the business, including:
• Market Assessments
• Production & Procurement Assessments for food and ag-based businesses
• Processing & Technical Assessments
• Business, Organization, & Management Assessments
• Financial & Economic Assessments
Utilizing extensive qualitative and quantitative research, The Product Center HI-VAT team helps clients determine the total investments needed for potential projects. The experienced team will analyze both hard cost investments such as labor and future cost of raw materials along with indefinable variables such as consumer perception and product trending.
• Market Research
Market Research is a crucial aspect of business strategy that provides a factual basis for a company to gain insight, support decision-making and ensure that their products are positioned to succeed in the marketplace. Market research can also improve market performance by improving the understanding of problems in a product, its marketing and distribution.
The MSU Product Center’s HI-VAT team has access to an extensive array of internationally recognized market research databases that define customer demographics, values and decision processes as well as competing product features and claims. The HI-VAT team also assists in interpreting market research results to guide marketing strategies reflecting the correct pricing, distribution, service, product mix and brand management necessary for companies to grow their businesses.
• Resource Assessment
A resource assessment initiative assists companies in businesses to review their activities to identify and implement resource efficiency improvements. By undertaking an energy or materials assessment or additional scoping work such as design analysis or business case development, companies can more easily proceed with implementation of a growth or expansion venture.
The MSU Product Center HI-VAT team can help provided companies with the following:
• Access to targeted information, tools and resources to help improve efficiency
• Funding source assistance to identify and implement efficiency improvements
• Business support programs to facilitate internal leadership and external networking opportunities
High Impact Venture Action Team (HI-VAT): ‘Strategic Thinking’ for your business.
- Ready to grow your business?
- Need to create new opportunities for your business for long term sustainability?
- Need to diversify your product portfolio to meet evolving trends and opportunities?
Welcome to HI-VAT, the Product Centers newest program to Michigan businesses in the food, agribusiness and bioprocessing industry. HI-VAT has been created to help larger established companies looking to create new opportunities for your business for long-term sustainability and profitability.
HI-VAT is available to assist food-ag-bio business growth projects that meet one or more of the following criteria:
- A project that results in $250,000.00 or more of new investment
- $ $250,000.00 or more of new annual sales
- 5 or more additional or retained jobs.
- Improve long term sustainability and opportunities
The HI-VAT team is dedicated to providing solutions for expansion plans and growth opportunities. The assistance encompasses:
- Economic and Market Analyses
- Feasibility assessments
- Product development
- Resource Development
- Supply chain and Marketing issues
- Strategic Action planning
- regulatory compliance
For all phases of the project plus government economic development incentives and financing assistance.
Engaging this team into your business significantly increases the project potential success in finding the right resource’s and solutions for your business needs. Starting with strategic project planning and development a uniquely tailored portfolio of tools and solutions are developed to assist the client.
The process begins with an assessment of your project’s needs and potential. A specific plan of work is then created. Many steps in the plan of work may be executed without fees to the business. Specialized work projects (e.g., technical feasibility study, primary market research, etc.) may require separate funding.
With General Questions and Further Information on Marketplace Please Contact:
With Registration Concerns, Payments, and Sponsorship Questions Please Contact:
Making It In Michigan
Thank you to all that participated in the 2014 Making It In Michigan Conference and Trade Show held on Wednesday, November 12, 2014.
NVAC Presentations 2012
2012 NATIONAL VALUE ADDED CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS
Adam, Brian - Whole-Chain Traceability-Information Sharing from Farm to Fork and Back again
Bardenhagen, Jim - Developing Networks for the Farm to School Program
Cornelisse, Sarah - Social Media and Mobile Technology for Ag Business Webinars
Dickinson, Dorian - Discover the Flavors of the Tri-States
Field, Mike - Creating Partnerships and Making them Effective
Hall, Peggy - Legal Business Ethics
Hall, Peggy - Zoning-Understanding the Regulatory World
Hanson, Ray - Streamlining Rural Economic Development in Iowa
Jones, Linda - Networking for Success in Value-Added Agriculture
LaCross, Ben - Connecting Industry and Farmers with Value-Added Processors
Lovegren, Adam - How Can Assistance Programs Create Value
Mahlich, Ben - Financing and Money Management
Matteson, Gary - Farming Future - The Next Generation
Nicholls, Sarah - The Role of Agri-Tourism in Rural Communities
Peterson, Chris - Keynote - Growing Rural Communities Through Partnerships
Peterson, Chris - Marketing for Better Profitability
Sirrine, Rob - Creating Communities in Michigan - Food and Farming Network
Tonsager, Dallas - Promoting Rural Economic Development and Rural Partnerships with USDA Programs
1. Link to Site
2. Training On Use
Business Development -
3. Product Specific Research
5. Mintel Link
6. The AgPlan Website link – www.agplan.umn.edu/
Financial Planning, Management and Taxes
3. List of Value Added Ag Funders by Type of Product: USDA, NRCS, FSA, Greenstone Farm Credit
4. Grant Writers and Consultants List
Regulations, Licensing, and Certification Resources
5. MDARD links
Meat Specific Resources
Food Safety, Shelf Life, Processing Testing
1. Food Safety for Sauces and Dressings
2. Lab List for Testing Perishables
4. Good Ag Practices – On-farm Food Safety
5. Links to info on HACCP, SSOP, GMF
Nutrition Labeling, Barcodes and Product Label
2. Labeling Companies
Manufacturing Location and Equipment Resources
3. Social Media
Distribution and Supply Chain Resources:
2. Retailer Sheet
3. Distributors list
Legal and Insurance Resources:
2. Varnum link
4. Trade Secrets
Restaurants and Food Trucks
1. USDA Link
Cooperative Development Resources:
State of MI Contracting and Exporting
1. Product Center Brochure 2014
2. CDA 2015
1. Seminar Evaluations
1. Training Handouts
Seminar Presentation Resource Sharing
1. Starting A Successful Cottage Food Business In MI
2. Food Safety Certificate
3. Cottage Food Law Safety
4. Cottage Food Marketing
If you have further questions please email Brenda by clicking here.
National Value Added Conference 2012
Growing Your Rural Community through Partnerships
The 2012 National Value Added Conference investigated how partnerships between economic development agencies, communities and businesses enhance the quality of life for rural residents by fostering civic infrastructure, strengthening the sustainability of agricultural production, promoting value added products, and improving economic opportunities consistent with the scale and capacity of the community.
If you were not able to attend, you missed an informative and inspiring Conference and we look forward to seeing you at next year’s Conference in Arkansas. if you did attend, thank you.
Presentations - Please use this link to access the slides for the presentations at the 2012 National Value Added Conference.
Stage One Resources
• Product Development
The Product Center works with clients to help standardize home recipe into commercial market recipes. This process assists clients in troubleshooting problems that they may have in translating their recipe into a product. Other product development assistance includes quality and function limitations for overall product improvement. The Product Center can also help facilitate relationships with Michigan kitchen incubators.
• Business Planning
The Product Center’s Innovation Counselors are experts in helping you ask the right questions to create a profitable business and guide you through the process of writing your business plan, reviewing and revising it on a regular basis. Their expert guidance will help you become comfortable with the process of identifying your business strengths and weaknesses, competition, financing, marketing strategies, etc., so that you not only develop skills to keep your business on track, you’ll also find it easier to raise capital.
There are many different types of food products and therefore, operations and production methods for each are unique. The Product Center performs the process authority review for shelf stability, resulting in a product classification pre-FDA. For perishable and refrigerated items, this process, referred to as shelf life, is usually outsourced. The product may fall under three categories – acid, acidified, or low-acid foods. Depending on which classification your product falls into, different regulations, and methods of operation and production will be assessed during scale-up.
The Product Center facilitates interaction with MSU’S College of Law’s Small Business & Nonprofit Clinic to empower small businesses and nonprofit organizations throughout Michigan. The Small Business & Nonprofit Clinic provide necessary assistance during the start-up phase, on-going continuation phase, and expansion phase by offering quality counseling, legal advice and representation, and community education information.
Starting a business requires a substantial investment, not only of an entrepreneur’s time and money but also funds from outside funding sources. In order to minimize risk and significantly improve their success in funding viable business concepts, many lenders require an independent third party feasibility study to determine whether a project has a high probability of generating the type of profits necessary to fulfill the lender’s expectations.
The Product Center assists clients in conducting feasibility studies that define the scope of your business, determines your objectives, identifies the problems and opportunities that you will face and explores alternative solutions for solving each problem. The result is an analytical cost-benefit tool that will give the lender a sound basis on which to make the critical “go/no go” decision on whether your business concept is viable and deserves funding.
• Market Research
Market research is critical in identifying characteristics of current and potential customers and developing new business opportunities to merge with product mix and business strengths. Market research can improve market performance through analysis of elements such as pricing and distribution.
The Product Center has access to an extensive array of internationally recognized market research databases including customer demographics, values and decision processes as well as competing product features and claims. In addition, the Product Center assists entrepreneurs in creating and implementing customized market research including surveys and focus groups. Our Innovation Counselors assist entrepreneurs in interpreting market research results to ensure marketing strategies reflect the correct pricing, distribution, service, product mix and brand management necessary to grow their businesses.
In addition, the Product Center sponsors Michigan MarketMaker™, a valuable market research tool and virtual marketplace where consumers, distributors and businesses connect. It offers a free map-based demographic research tool that enables entrepreneurs to identify potential customer locations. It also features a searchable database of businesses that may offer Michigan-made ingredients. http://mi.foodmarketmaker.com
• Marketing Plan
Marketing planning is a mandatory element of business planning that identifies opportunities in the marketplace for entrepreneurs to maximize. A successful marketing plan comprises market factors, competition, product characteristics, pricing, advertising, promotion, publicity, sales and customer service and integrates a profitability formula.
The Product Center Innovation Counselors team are continually involved in bringing new products to market and are experts in key areas such as pricing strategies, regulations on product claims, marketing that will reach decision makers, and fostering collaborations with distributors and suppliers. Developing a marketing plan with an Innovation Counselor can often mean the difference between a successful product launch and a stalled business idea, accelerating clients through meeting FDA and regulatory marketing plan requirements.
• Product Testing/Packaging
The Product Center works in conjunction with the MSU Food Science and Packaging departments and is lead by Dr. Janice Harte, the primary contact for the MSU Food Sensory Laboratory. Dr. Harte has assisted the food industry and entrepreneurs by providing information, testing services, referrals for food product development and sensory evaluation needs, and she serves as a liaison for food processing and food safety information. The Food Sensory Laboratory consists of a testing area (organoleptic), training area (educate industry, students or professionals in food safety) and preparation area (for samples).
The MSU School of Packaging offers testing services and expert faculty who are available for consultation. Clients can also have their food product available for the student Capstone project, which studies solutions for efficient packaging for all food and non-food products.
• Label Design/Nutrition Labeling
A good food label not only distinguishes a product from its competitors but also saves costs in conforming to FDA regulations and complementing the initial requirements of MDA. The Product Center works with the MSU Food Science and Nutrition Department to develop product identification and nutrition facts.
Below is the FDA link to Food Labeling Regulations for your information:
Recipes need to be production ready to ensure Nutrition Facts accuracy. See Fee Schedule for particular costs.
• Regulatory Requirements
Product Center Innovation Counselors are experienced in USDA and FDA regulatory requirements for food products at both the state and federal levels. The Product Center also works with experts from the office and associated consultants of the MSU Food Science department. Additional assistance can be provided in understanding the regulatory requirements placed upon products manufactured and sold in Michigan, either direct to the customer or through commercial channels.
Stage One Customer Stories
Request for Counseling:
To find an Innovation Counselor or HI-VAT Team Member in your area to discuss your business or product needs with, you can:
- Submit your Request for Counseling to us online.
- Call the Product Center at (517) 432-8750 or Fax (517)432-8756
Download a brochure.
Venture Development Overview: Start a Business
Whether you are struggling to develop your concept for a new business or product, or an existing business that needs advanced studies to help you launch your new product, the MSU Product Center can help. If your concept is still in the idea stage, the Product Center’s Concept Definition can help determine potential customers for your product or service, give you ideas on how to finance your concept, and help you decide if your concept is worth pursuing further. If you have already developed your concept, the Product Center can help you create a business plan to effectively communicate with bankers, investors, and customers. The Product Center can also connect you with experts within or outside MSU for advanced marketing or feasibility studies, assistance with nutritional facts labeling or processing to meet Federal Food and Drug Administration requirements.
How the Product Center Can Help You:
The MSU Product Center is dedicated to enhancing economic opportunities in the Michigan agriculture, food and natural resource sectors. The Product Center helps entrepreneurs and established companies develop and commercialize high value, consumer-responsive products through MSU‘s vast and varied technical expertise, research, outreach, and educational services.
To find an Innovation Counselor or HI-VAT Team Member in your area to discuss your business or product needs with, you can:
- Submit your Request for Counseling to us online.
- Call the Product Center at (517)432-8750 or Fax (517)432-8756.
Strategic Research Papers
The Economic Impact of Michigan’s Food and Agriculture Sector
An updated Michigan State University (MSU) study on The Economic Impact of Michigan’s Food and Agriculture Sector shows that the industry contributes an estimated $91.4 billion to Michigan’s economy. That’s an increase of more than 50 percent between 2004 and 2010. The study was conducted by the MSU Product Center Food-Ag-Bio. Economists used the latest available data and applied multipliers from IMPLAN to determine indirect and induced effects of the sector—common standards used by other business sectors.
MSU Product Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources
under the direction of MSU‘s Bioeconomy Network presents
the following newly released series:
Status of Michigan’s Bio-Economy: Progress & Evolving Potential.
Working Papers and Impact Reports
Biomass as an Energy Resource for Michigan: Opportunities, Challenges, and Policies (Jan. 2011)
William A. Knudson, WOrking Paper 01-0111
The Economic Impact of the Michigan food Processing Industries (2010)
William A Knudson, Steven Miller, and H. Christopher Peterson Working paper 01-0910
Second Interim Update on the Economic Impact of Michigan’s Agri-Food and Agri-Energy System (2009)
William Knudson and H. Christopher Peterson
The Global Financial Situation and its Impact on the Bioeconomy (2009) William A Knudson, Working Paper 02-1200
The Economic Impact and Potential of Michigan’s Agri-Food System (2006)
H. Christopher Peterson, William A. Knudson, Getachew Abate.
Interim Update on the Economic Impact of Michigan’s Agri-Food and Agri-Energy Systems (Jan. 2008)
H. Christopher Peterson, William Knudson.
Preparing the Future of Michigan’s Bioeconomy: Recommendations for the Office of Biobased Technologies. (November 2006) Prepared for the Office of Biobased Technologies by Centrec Consulting Group, LLC in cooperation with the Product Center for Agriculture.and Natural Resources.
Linking Knowledge and Resources to Support Michigan’s Bioeconomy. (April 2006) Prepared for the Office of Biobased Technologies by Centrec Consulting Group, LLC in cooperation with the Product Center for Agriculture.and Natural Resources.
A Brief Synopsis of the Biodiesel Industry (2007) William A. Knudson. Working paper 01-0207.
Briefing Paper on Corn Ethanol Use in Michigan: Short-run and Long-run Issues. Ethanol Working Group, H. Christopher Peterson, Roy Black, Jim Hilker, William Knudson, John Ferris. December 8, 2006
State and International Incentives and the Bioeconomy (2006) William A. Knudson. Working Paper No. 1-0506.
Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Reports
Processing, What We Already Do Here and Where Michigan Production Sells (January 2013) William Knudson and Tom Kalchik
Economic Impacts of Michigan’s Food and Agriculture System (January 2013) Dr. Brent Ross
Demongraphic and Economic Forces Affecting Michigan (May 2010) William Knudson
Rapid Opportunity Assessement - Product Development Fact Sheets
Demand Drivers Facing the Food System (March 2010) William A. Knudson, Working Paper 01-0310
Hopping Mad: The Impact of Hops Market Turmoil on the Specialty Beer Industry (2009) William A. Knudson and Hamish Gow, Working Paper 01-1209
An Assessment of University Agri-Entrepreneurship and Value Added Programs (2008) William A. Knudson and H. Christopher Peterson, Working Paper 01-1108
The Economic Impact of Exapnded Cranberry Production (2008) William A. Knudson, Working Paper No 01-1208
The Net Impact of Ethanol on Households. (June 2008) William A. Knudson. The Strategic Marketing Institute Working Paper No 01-0608
Impact of Farmer Planting Intentions of Commodiities. Working Paper No. 01-0408. William Knudson, April, 2008.
Economic and Demographic Forces Affecting the Agri-Food System, Working paper 01-1109. William A. Knudson, Nov. 2007.
The Organic Food Market William A. Knudson. Working paper 02-0407, April, 2007.
A Feasibility Assessement of a Meat Slaughtering/Processing Plant or Feedlot in Northern Michigan. William A. Knudson and H. Christopher Peterson. January, 2007.
An Introduction to Patents, Brands, Trade Secrets, Trademarks, and Intellectual Property Rights Issues (2006) William Knudson, Working Paper 1-806
The Market for Fresh Snap Beans (2006) Getachew Abate. Working Paper 2-0706.
The Impact of Migrant Farmworkers on Michigan Agriculture (2006) William A. Knudson. Working Paper No. 1-0706
The Market for Greenhouse-Grown Tomatoes (2006) Getachew Abate. Working Paper No. 1-0606
Business Opportunities in Specialty Food Products by The Hale Group, LTD, Danvers, MA. Prepared at the MSU Product Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources. Funded by the USDA Rural Cooperative Development Services.
A Shift/Share Analysis of Michigan Agriculture (2006) William A. Knudson. Working Paper No. 30106.
Market Opportunities for Meat Goats (2006) William A. Knudson. Working Paper No. 2-0106.
The Market for Orange Juice - Challenges and Opportunities (2005) Getachew Abate. Working Paper No. 2-102605
New Product Development Trends in the Fruit Sector (2005) Getachew Abate. Working Paper No. 1-102605.
The Black Trumpet Mushroom Market (2004) William Knudson. Strategic Marketing Institute Working Paper No. 1-1004.
Some Alternative Marketing Strategies for Beef Producers (2004) William Knudson. Strategic Marketing Institute Working Paper No. 1-0904.
The Market for Organic and Fortified Eggs (2003) William Knudson. Strategic Marketing Institute Working Paper No. 2-0104.
The Effects of BSE on the Cattle Market (2003) William Knudson. Strategic Marketing Institute Working Paper No. 1-0104.
The Edamame Market (2003) William Knudson. Strategic Marketing Institute Working Paper No.2-1203
The Pet Food Market (2003) William Knudson. Strategic Marketing Institute Working Paper No. 1-1203.
Spending on Food: Implications for Michigan Agriculture (2003) William Knudson. Strategic Marketing Institute Working Paper No. 1-1003.
A Preliminary Analysis of the Impacts of a Harbor in China and Michigan on the Michigan Fruit and Vegetable Industries (2003) William Knudson. Strategic Marketing Insititue Working Paper No. 1-903.
The Making of Hard Apple Cider
Michigan Apple Committee/MSU Product Center
Funded by the USDA
Cider Mill Business Plan
How to Make Cider, sent to Michigan Apple Committe 7-28-2005
What it takes to start a Business
Making Table Wine at Home Publication Number 21434
Glossary of Wine Terms
Michigan Wine Resources (MDA)
Better Processing Control School Workshops:
October 20-24, 2014
March 9-13, 2015
News and Advice from the MSU Product Center
News & Events
News & Events
Archive of MSU Product Center Newsletter- Product Central.
Events and Activities Relating to Product Center- Upcoming Events
Educational Offerings- Webinars
Nowlin Chair of Consumer-Responsive Agriculture
Senior Associate Director
Associate Director, Strategic Research
Project Manager HI-VAT
Food Processing Specialist
Food Product Development Specialist
(517) 355-8474 x 105
Product Marketing Economist
Project Services Coordinator
Product Marketing Economist
The MSU Product Center Food-Ag-Bio was established in Spring, 2003 with funds from the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station and Michigan State University Extension to improve economic opportunities in the Michigan agriculture, food and natural resource sectors. The Product Center can help you develop and commercialize high value, consumer-responsive products and businesses in the agriculture and natural resource sectors. Whether you are a budding entrepreneur or an established company, the Center is your key to the front door of MSU’s vast and varied technical expertise, research, outreach, and educational services. Chris Peterson, Nowlin Chair for Consumer-Responsive Agriculture in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University, is the Center’s director. The Center has offices located on Michigan State University’s campus in East Lansing.
For complete information, download the Center’s Mission and Informational Sheet and brochure.
The programs and services of the Product Center are available to all without regard to race, color, gender, religion, national origin, political persuasion, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, height, weight, veteran status, age or familial status. It is our policy to work with any and all entrepreneurs or existing businesses that are interested in pursuing new ventures, either new businesses or new products and services, related to agriculture, food, bioeconomy or natural resource industries. We do not engage in any advocacy on behalf of particular methods or scales of production, forms or types of products or services, or any special characteristics or traits of a venture to the exclusion of others. (Please click here for a copy of our complete policy for services and advocacy.)
Who We Are
The Michigan State University (MSU) Product Center helps Michigan entrepreneurs develop and commercialize high-value, consumer-responsive products and businesses in the agriculture, natural resources, and bioeconomy sectors. The Product Center is a single gateway to generating success for Michigan entrepreneurs.
Chris Peterson, Director
We can help you develop and commercialize high value, consumer-responsive products and businesses in the food, agriculture, and bioeconomy sectors. Whether you are a budding entrepreneur or an established company, the Product Center is your key to the front door of MSU‘s vast and varied technical expertise, research, outreach, and educational services.
In the News
MSU Product Center helps source Michigan products for 33 Meijer locations.
Food Businesses Should Consider Nutritional Labeling on Food Products
Kay Cummings - Innovation Counselor
Joanne Davidhizer - Innovation Counselor
Benton Harbor, MI
Becky DeYoung - Innovation Counselor
MSU Product Center
Mary Dunckel - Innovation Counselor
Frank Gublo - Innovation Counselor
Micah Loucks - Innovation Counselor
Mark Seamon - Innovation Counselor
Diane Smith - Innovation Counselor
Mark Thomas - Innovation Counselor
Paul Werner - Innovation Counselor
Wendy Wieland - Innovation Counselor
Harbor Springs, MI