Purdue University has transformed a classroom in the Philip E. Nelson Hall of Food Science into a food product development laboratory. The university says the lab, which is the result of a $200,000 donation from Ohio-based Skidmore Sales and Distributing, is comparable to those found at leading food manufacturers.
Brian Farkas, head of Purdue’s Food Science Department, says the laboratory was designed with help from industry partners and corporate chefs. The goal of the facility is to give students the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art technology used in the food product development industry.
"Experiential learning allows students to transition smoothly into their careers," said Farkas. "When I presented my vision of a food grade space that students could work in, faculty could teach in and entrepreneurs could work through problems on the ingredient side, Doug Skidmore wanted to hear more. That began our journey together to create this unique space, giving the experience to our students that so many of our recruiters expect."
Purdue says the facility will be used for coursework in product development and ingredient technologies, along with competitions for the development of new products. Doug Skidmore, chief executive officer of Skidmore Sales and Distributing, says the lab will allow students to prepare for future jobs.
"Product development experience is crucial for success in today’s market," said Skidmore. "This new lab will give students the opportunity to actually take a product development project from start to finish in an environment similar to what they would have in the industry."