AFS opens innovation center in concert with University of Iowa

By Hank Schultz contact

- Last updated on GMT

Applied Food Sciences photo.
Applied Food Sciences photo.

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Applied Food Sciences has expanded its capabilities with a dedicated R&D center supported by a collaboration with the University of Iowa.

Located in Iowa City, the new center, called by the company an Innovation Center, will tap into the potential offered by the University of Iowa BioVentures Center (BVC).  The new center represents a multi-million dollar investment, according to Chris Fields, AFS’s vice president of scientific affairs.

“We chose Iowa for a couple of different reasons,”​ Fields told NutraIngredients-USA. “We wanted a place where we had a strong collaboration of what’s unfolding in botanical science and how we can fold that into foods, beverages and supplements.

“And we do a lot of natural growing here in Iowa.  A lot of products of interest are also manufacturered here, and you have big companies like Cargill and Ingredion doing business here,” ​she said.

The new center will be located in the university’s research park. The BioVentures Center in the UI Research Park is part of the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development. According to the university, the center provides resources and support to researchers and scholars at the University of Iowa and to businesses across Iowa with the goal of forging new frontiers of discovery and innovation and promoting a culture of creativity.

Public/private partnership

The research park was established in 1989 and leases building sites and space to growing technology companies that require sustained research relationships with the university.

The BVD also offers a business incubator facility featuring flexible, cost-effective wet lab space to new business ventures. The university says its business incubator program was among the first in the nation when it was established in 1984 and has nurtured nearly 100 UI spinouts and other new ventures.

AFS is formally based in Austin, TX where its warehouses are located and has operations in Boulder, CO and now in Iowa.  Fields was formerly based in Chicago and moved to Iowa City to set up the new center, where she is now actively recruiting scientific staff.

"We are creating the ideal environment to foster collaborative teams with the mission of touching all aspects of how advances in food sciences can produce long term significance to the positive impact on health and wellness,"​ said Loretta Zapp, CEO of AFS.  "This new center is evidence of our commitment to our customers and the enhanced value we strive to bring to their products. AFS is excited about these additional resources that will add even more value to our current offerings that include supply chain sustainability, innovation, formulation and manufacturing support."

AFS also has significant relationships with growers and extraction facilities in India, in the southern state of Karnataka, where the company sources turmeric for its organic curcumin extracts. In addition to those, the company offers a a range of botanical extracts focused on coffee and green tea as well as other botanical sources.

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