Why the Food Institute
The perfect location
The Galilean food ecosystem
The State of Israel, already considered one of the leading countries in the field of Agrifood and food innovation, has decided to take a step forward, together with partners in the private and public sector, and turn the Eastern Galilee into an international area of excellence in the field of food technology.
The Food Institute to be established in Tel Hai will be the center of professional and research knowledge in a unique ecosystem built in the Galilee that includes, among others:
- FoodTech Incubator (Fresh Start)
- Micro-industrial complex (CMO)
- Margalit Startup City Galil
- The Galilee Culinary Institute (by JNF) (by JNF)
- A variety government support programs for food Manufacturers – industrial park, employee wages program and more
All of these together with the research activities in the field of food and agriculture that already take place at Tel Hai College and MIGAL Galilee Research Institute, create a synergy and business environment that shall act as a fruitful ground for the Food Institute to establish numerous collaborations with both startups and traditional industries.
The food institute will be established in the Tel Hai Academic College and will become the ecosystem's knowledge center regarding product development similar to institutes around the world, such as the German Fraunhofer IVV and the Dutch WFBR.
The Institute and the food industry
The Food Institute will provide accessibility to the research infrastructure and experts that the Israeli industry and FoodTech companies are currently lacking. This shall include pilot equipment, analytical equipment and sensory equipment. The institute will allow the projects that are currently being carried out abroad or are not being carried out at all to develop in Israel, thus leaving the know-how in Israel, allowing other food producers to benefit from it.
The institute will be a meeting point between large and established food companies and startups, thus enabling connections that will lead to the implementation of innovation in the industry, which in turn will be used by startups as beta sites, where they can learn from the experience of those companies about scale-up processes that are necessary to industrial production.
The food industry is one of the most significant industries in Israel, with a revenue of about NIS 66 billion and about 65,000 employees in more than 2,000 factories, the vast majority of which are medium or small. The food industry in Israel is characterized by traditional production processes and a relatively low level of innovation. This leads to low productivity which makes it challenging for the local industry to compete with international firms and adapt to global healthier food trends and new regulations (e.g. red labeling for high salt/sugar/fat values or the expected tax on sweetened beverages).
In order to meet these challenges, the industry must implement innovation in the product as well as production processes. This process requires a proper pilot infrastructure that does not currently exist in Israel. This shortcoming leads to the fact that the process of changing products is complex and inaccessible, which prevents many companies from implementing innovation in their products or alternatively leads them to turn to food institutes abroad in order to carry out product developments.
The Institute and the academia
The Food Institute is to be established within the campus of the Tel Hai Academic College in order to facilitate interactions between the institute and the academy. These interactions should translate to an open innovation environment based on direct transfer of know-how between students, researchers and lecturers and the institute personnel.
The college has a number of departments that have relevant knowledge to the institute such as food science, nutrition, biotechnology, environment, and agriculture.
The connection between the academy and the institute:
- Will enable the staff of the Institute to consult with the researchers and students of the College to promote innovative and creative solutions
- Will allow the institute access to the extensive infrastructure of research laboratories and kitchen product development equipment existing in the college and MIGAL
- Will support college researchers in focusing their research on relevant questions for the industry and the projects at the Institute
- Will enable independent research activities to be carried out at the institute on the basis of the researchers and students of Tel Hai college
- Will allow college researchers to benefit from the institute's pilot infrastructure and state-of-the-art equipment
- Will support students in acquiring knowledge relevant to the job market through laboratory classes at the institute, working cases from industry and receiving training from the institute's employees