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auri facility in Marshall food trolley

Food Research and Development Lab

Located in AURI’s Marshall Facilities on the Southwest Minnesota State University campus, the food research and development lab is a unique resource for entrepreneurs and small food businesses throughout Minnesota. The goal of AURI’s Food Focus Area is to support the organization’s mission: to foster long-term economic benefit for Minnesota through value added agricultural products. AURI’s Food Focus area partners with food businesses and entrepreneurs to bring ideas to reality. It provides a broad range of services including hands-on technical assistance, and a targeted network of resources to assist in the development of value added products created from Minnesota based crops/ingredients.

What is unique about AURI’s work in the food area?

AURI works one on one with food clients with flexible assistance to meet their needs. Services range from answering a few technical questions for a client to working with them at their commercial kitchen space to improve their product or process. Food lab staff also work closely with AURI’s Project Development team to offer resources on the sourcing, marketing and other business needs.

What are the capabilities of the Food/Meat Lab?

AURI has a food and meat lab facility located in Marshall, Minnesota. The lab is equipped with the basic equipment needed to make small batches of many types of food products. In addition, we have the capability to do processing, cooking and packaging of meat based products. We intend to add the capability to do sensory testing soon.

The Amazing Chickpea

The client is making a line of chickpea butter spreads, somewhat similar to peanut butter but using chickpeas as the base so the spread offers a similar nutrition profile to peanut butter but with no allergens. AURI provided some technical consulting and hands on work to resolve product issues and help optimize the formula in order to get the best texture and flavor.

King’s Table Grape Jelly

The client makes a reduced sugar jelly made from cold-hardy grapes grown in Chisago Lakes, Minnesota. AURI worked with the client to obtain the needed information in order to create a nutrition facts label for the product.

Lotus Pops

Lotus Pops have a texture similar to popcorn but are lower in calories and are nutrient dense. AURI provided technical assistance to the client in several areas including product stability assessment and nutritional analysis.

Spice Kitchen

The client has a line of Pho kits at retail that are shelf stable and contain the needed flavoring ingredients and noodles in order to make Pho at home. AURI provided coaching and mentoring throughout the product development process, food safety and regulatory guidance, and connections to other resources and networks within the local food system.

Lou Lou Foods

The client makes a line of protein and energy bars targeted to athletes and plans to distribute them at athletic clubs. AURI worked closely with the client to assess the stability of her starting recipes/formulas, working through several rounds of revisions in order to get the moisture level of the bars to an acceptable level for safe, ambient distribution.

If you have a food project and would like to learn how AURI can help you, contact us via