Thank you for the support

Featured Partner

Kroger Logo


Diamond Sponsors


Meijer Logo

SpartanNash Logo

Platinum Sponsors



University Outreach and Engagement

Gold Sponsors


GreenStone Farm Credit

Michigan Food and Beverage Association


Strategic Support

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.

Most of these studies are done for a fee reflecting the amount of analysts’ time spent on the research and writing.  If you would like us to take on a specific strategic research project, please email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call (517)432-8750.



Accelerated Growth Service Resources

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 AGS team works with clients to help define goals and objectives, conduct competitive assessments and develop strategies implementation tactics and measurement metrics.

Accelerated Growth Services Team (AGS) The AGS 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 AGS 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 AGS 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 AGS 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 AGS 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 AGS 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 AGS 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 AGS 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

Growth Services

Accelerated Growth Services (AGS): ‘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 Accelerated Growth Services (AGS), the Product Center’s newest program for Michigan businesses in the food, agribusiness and bioprocessing industry. AGS has been created to help larger established companies looking to create new opportunities for your business for long-term sustainability and profitability.

AGS 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 AGS 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 resources 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.

For complete informatino, download the AGS brochure

To access AGS services, contact Matt Birbeck, Senior Project Director, Food Processing and Innovation Center (FPIC)  (517-353-1619) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Contact Us

With General Questions and Further Information on Marketplace Please Contact:

Mackenzie Martin
(517) 432-4608
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Matt Birbeck
(517) 353-1619
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

With Registration Concerns, Payments, and Sponsorship Questions Please Contact:

Greta McKinney
(517) 353-7185
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Making It In Michigan

Welcome to the 2015 Making It In Michigan Conference and Marketplace Trade Show -  held on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 at the Lansing Center. 


This year’s theme was “Ingredients for Success – Components and Processes for Safe, Sound and Smart Product Development.” 

 Have an idea for a food business?  Participants interacted with the Product Center Team and thriving Michigan food businesses and learned how to make their idea a viable reality.

 Have a product developed and need distribution channels?  Exhibitors put their products in front of hundreds of key Michigan food and agricultural buyers at the Marketplace trade show.

 Need to learn more about making your business more efficient and profitable?  Our educational sessions covered strategies for the following:

  • Processing know-how for shelf-stable products
  • Understanding the nuts and bolts of risk reduction
  • Taking the business to the next level
  • Preparing for an unannounced food inspection visit
  • Understanding legal basics for starting a food business
  • Keeping your food business sales growing
  • Learning how to build the right team
  • Breaking into the retail market
  • Being recall ready
  • Discovering your competitive advantage in the specialty food market

 This year’s keynote panel featured leading industry food technologists and engineers discussing “do’s and don’ts” of product development and production.


to our featured partner


and our other sponsors



NVAC Presentations 2012



Following are links to the presentations that were made at the 2012 National Value added Conference.  If you have any questions or need further information, please contact the presenter directly.  If you need contact information for a presenter, please contact the product center at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).




National Value Added Conference 2012


2012 National Value Added Conference  

National Value Added Conference Logo

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.

Hosted by:



Diamond Sponsors:

Gold Sponsors:






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:


Fee Schedule:

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.


Customer Stories

Customer Stories

In their own words

Ellis Island 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year    Findlay's Organics 2014 Value-Added Agriculture     Love's Ice Cream 2014 Start-Up to Watch


Pronko Enterprise 2014 Barrier Buster     Sweetwaters Coffee and Tea     Scoville Farms


Johnny Secreto     Ope's Organic Products    Spillson's Rice Pudding


Ackroyd's Scottish Bakery    Dancing Goat Creamery    Robusta Dipping Sauce


Tomato Kitchen


Counseling Request

To find an Innovation Counselor or Accelerated Growth Services Team Member in your area to discuss your business or product needs with, you can:

  • Submit your Request for Counseling to us online.        
  • Email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
  • Call the Product Center at (517) 432-8750 or Fax (517)432-8756

Download a Product Center informational brochure.

Development Services

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.

Working with an Innovation Counselor is the first phase of your business or product development process. The Product Center’s Innovation Counselor Network includes professionals from Michigan State University who are certified to assess the developmental phase of your project, identify markets, innovate new products, help you make critical go/no-go decisions, and guide you from concept to launch.   You can start this process by completing a Request for Counseling if you are not currently work with a Counselor, or contact us by email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call (517) 432-8750 for further assistance.


Counselor Map

 Map of counselors in Michigan


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 Accelerated Growth Services Team Member in your area to discuss your business or product needs with, you can:

  • Submit your Request for Counseling to us online.  
  • Email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
  • 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


Bioeconomy Reports


Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Reports

Rapid Opportunity Assessement - Product Development Fact Sheets


Working Papers


The Making of Hard Apple Cider
Michigan Apple Committee/MSU Product Center
Funded by the USDA

Upcoming Events

Making it in Michigan Conference and Market Place Trade Show
Tuesday November 10, 2015



Development and Implementation of HACCP and Prerequisite Program
October 26-27, 2015
January 21-22, 2016
April 25-26, 2016





Better Process Control School

March 8, 2016



Product Central

News and Advice from the MSU Product Center

News & Events

   Archive of MSU Product Center Newsletter- Product Central.

   Events and Activities Relating to Product Center-  Upcoming Events

   Educational Offerings- Webinars



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 Product Center informational 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.  Our
complete policy for services and advocacy.)


In the News

Michigan food and ag leaders confident, optimistic about the future
Read Results from recent survey  and Review Talking Points

MSU Product Center helps source Michigan products for 33 Meijer locations.
Read More

Food Businesses Should Consider Nutritional Labeling on Food Products
Read More

  • Name
  • Phone/Email
  • Email
  • Matt Birbeck Birbeck, Matt
    Senior Project Director, Food Processing and Innovation Center (FPIC)


  • Conklin, Tina
    Food Processing Specialist


  • Janice Harte Harte, Janice
    Food Product Development Specialist


  • Bill Knudson Knudson, Bill
    Product Marketing Economist


  • Dianne Novak Novak, Dianne
    Specialized Services Coordinator


  • Chris Peterson Peterson, Chris
    Director / Nowlin Chair of Consumer-Responsive Agriculture


  • Brenda  Reau Reau, Brenda
    Senior Associate Director


  • Whims, John
    Associate Director, Strategic Research


  • Woods, Mollie
    Product Marketing Economist


  • Visit AgBioResearch
  • Visit Project Green
  • Visit Michigan State University Extension
  • Visit Ag Econ