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MDARD Awards Grant to Support High Pressure Processing for Michigan Food and Agriculture Companies

Agency: Agriculture and Rural Development

For immediate release: July 19, 2017

Media contact: Jessy Sielski517-284-5725 

LANSING, Michigan – Today, during its regularly scheduled meeting, the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development voted to award a Food and Agriculture Investment Program grant to Great Lakes HPP, LLC in Taylor, Michigan.

Great Lakes HPP is developing a high-pressure processing (HPP) tolling center and food innovation center in Taylor, Michigan. HPP is a method of cold pasteurization that protects and defends foods by subjecting sealed products to incredibly high pressure.  It is an all-natural process that uses purified cold water to neutralize food-borne pathogens without preservatives or chemicals. The process allows food products to retain nutrients, while increasing shelf life and preserving taste and quality.

Great Lakes HPP will use its $150,000 performance-based grant to create an HPP tolling center that will include a HPP machine and a Super Lab that can be used for testing products and other ancillary services, such as packaging, labeling and distribution. The project will also include a food innovation center that will be available to Michigan food entrepreneurs who need space and resources for product testing, recipe development, flavor profiling and other food and agriculture business development training, such as selling to retail and product costing.

“We are excited about the potential of this project for Michigan food companies and are happy to be partnering with Great Lakes HPP on this project,” said MDARD Director Jamie Clover Adams. “High-pressure processing is a difference-making technology that will enhance quality and extend distribution opportunities for Michigan food and agriculture companies. Having this technology available in Michigan will certainly create a more efficient supply chain for small- and medium-sized food processors while saving time and transportation costs.”

Initially, the project will include one HPP machine, but future growth could lead to a total of four machines with the ability to process up to 280 million pounds of food per year.  The company plans to invest $5.5 million in the project and will create approximately 20-30 new jobs for the first phase of the project and ultimately 75-100 new jobs when all phases are developed. The project has the potential to have a major impact in Michigan as there are only 21 tolling centers worldwide and 12 in the United States, with no tolling centers currently located in Michigan.

“Garden Fresh was an early adopter of this amazing technology,” said Jack Aronson, founder of Garden Fresh Gourmet in Ferndale, MI, and cofounder of Great Lakes HPP. “As a pioneer in all-natural fresh salsa, we were told time and again that our brand would not be viable outside of Michigan due to limited shelf life. HPP made it possible for us to become the number one salsa in North America and beyond, eventually employing 450 people at our Ferndale plant. As Michigan becomes an increasingly important player in food production, easy access to HPP technology and related services is imperative. We at Great Lakes HPP are thankful to MDARD for helping to make such access possible.”

The Food and Agriculture Investment Program provides financial support for food and agriculture projects that help expand food and agriculture processing to enable growth in the industry and Michigan’s economy. Projects are selected based on their impact to the overall agriculture industry and their impact to food and agriculture growth and investment in Michigan.

More information about other MDARD grants can be found at http://www.michigan.gov/mdardgrants.

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