Our network of food scientists is here to assist you in every stage of the manufacturing process.

More about the Food Manufacturing processes & services we offer.

Since 1995, CIFT has worked with hundreds of food processors, industry equipment manufacturers and suppliers, university researchers, and governmental agencies to improve the competitive position within food manufacturing and agribusiness.

As a result, many new technologies have emerged, industry best practices have been established, and novel business approaches have been discovered.  Through an industry-driven methodology, businesses have benefited throughout Ohio and beyond.

Food Manufacturing Services

Ohio MEP

The Ohio MEP is a regional effort coordinated by CIFT which combines resources from Rhodes State College (Lima) who serves as a satellite partner in delivering valuable services to manufacturers within a 18 county territory. Plus, staff has resources available beyond northwest Ohio through other Ohio MEP partners. Click here to learn more.

For more information, contact Troy Wildermuth, director of manufacturing, Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership, at 419-535-6000, ext. 105 or twildermuth@ciftinnovation.org.


Food Safety Consulting

CIFT's expert network of food scientists offers a full range of food safety services to food processors through microbiological consulting and testing, food safety auditing, and food safety and quality training. We also help processors develop food product handling practices and procedures, including worker hygiene and sanitation practices.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists recalls, withdrawals and alerts on their website, which includes the most significant product actions of the last 60 days, based on the extent of distribution and the degree of health risk. Learn more about the latest FDA food recall notices.

For more information, contact Stacy Vernon, project manager, at 419-535-6000, ext. 111 or svernon@ciftinnovation.org.


Food Safety Gap Assessments

Whether you are just beginning the process of obtaining GFSI or organic certification, meeting customer specific requirements or just ensuring regulatory compliance, or you’ve significantly changed your food safety management system since your last audit; a Gap Assessment will help you bridge the gaps between your current food safety management system and a regulatory compliance or certification-level system.

A Gap Assessment is also useful when new regulatory compliance is needed, a new version of a standard is released or in between audits to keep your site audit ready.

What is a Gap Assessment?

A Gap Assessment will evaluate your established procedures, programs, and
documentation to measure how well your food safety programs will align with your
selected requirements. It provides companies with a foundation of assessing the
effectiveness of their current procedures and how they could be improved.

How can CIFT be of assistance?

CIFT’s Gap Assessment program is much more than just a mock audit. It’s also a
consulting tool that offers the best possible training, customized to your unique facility and products. CIFT and our partners will help you discover areas for improvement so corrections can be made before your auditor arrives, saving you the resulting time and potential revenue loss of receiving non-conformances during your actual audit.

A detailed written report will identify areas of non-compliance as well as opportunities for improvement to help you resolve shortfalls and prepare your facility for an audit.

Available Gap Assessments (but not limited to):

FSMA Compliance
Food Defense
FSC 22000
Gluten Free
Customer Specific

Get started on you gap assessment today. Contact Stacy Vernon, CIFT Project
Manager at svernon@ciftinnovation.org or 419-535-6000 ext. 111

Food Certified Sites

Food Certified Sites

CIFT and the Regional Growth Partnership (RGP) work together to help make the food sector of our economy stronger and more vibrant.  One result of our collaboration has been the development of food certified sites in our region. 


Expanding Processing Techniques

Ohio is at the epicenter for advanced food processing and packaging technologies. Application of these techniques will result in the production of higher quality food products, improved safety, and reduced use of chemical preservatives, appealing to consumer preferences for cleaner labels and minimally processed foods.

Market forces, consumer preferences, and government regulations are creating shifts in the types of products and packaging. Click here to learn more about High Pressure Processing, "Stand-Up" Retort Pouches, and "Next Generation" Aseptic Packaging.

For more information, contact Rebecca Singer, president and CEO, at 419-535-6000, ext. 109 or rsinger@ciftinnovation.org.


Supply Chain

CIFT provides assistance and resources to Ohio industry to support optimizing supply chains.

From product development, procurement of raw materials, production planning, warehouse management and transportation to the customer.  CIFT has the expertise to determine opportunities along the supply chain.

•    Supplier Management
•    Traceability/Recalls
•    Production Planning
•    Warehouse Management
•    Transportation
•    Equipment and Technology
•    Continuous Improvement

CIFT utilizes a network of resources and technology providers at its disposal to provide a complete and cost effective evaluation.  CIFT has qualified and experienced staff ready to provide services and implement those resources to meet business objectives.

For more information, contact Stacy Vernon, project manager, at 419-535-6000, ext. 111 or svernon@ciftinnovation.org.


Market Research

CIFT has access to a continuously updated collection of market research information with more than 300,000 reports from 700 leading global publishers. With this tool, assistance can be offered to Ohio food companies on new product trends, the latest in packaging, emerging ethnic foods, or competitive analysis of new or existing markets. Such information is critical to maintaining a competitive edge in new and established markets.

Through this service, general reports associated with trend and industry data on a product category can be obtained. Contact CIFT to learn more about gaining access to this information as a tool for business enhancement and market evaluation.

Examples of reports include the following:

  • Ten Trends to Watch in Fast-Moving Consumer Goods in 2017, December 2016
  • Innovation Trends and Opportunities in Convenient Food and Drinks, December 2016
  • How Americans' Eating Habits are Changing: Drivers for Change, December 2016
  • Adding Value Through Packaging: Sauces and Dressings, December, 2016

Specific information requests can be submitted to CIFT for review and consideration of market analysis.

For more information, contact Cathy Witte, food market and technology analyst, at 419-535-6000, ext. 142 or cwitte@ciftinnovation.org.


Product & Package Development

New and emerging technologies in the areas of food processing, preservation and packaging are widespread.  CIFT's network of food scientists and business advisors work with industry and academia to bring innovations to the marketplace, helping food processors optimize their operations.

For more information, contact Stacy Vernon, project manager, at 419-535-6000, ext. 111 or svernon@ciftinnovation.org.


Technology Development & Prototyping

CIFT collaborates with a variety of food equipment manufacturers to develop prototype equipment for evaluation and commercialization. By tapping into available resources, food based companies can benefit from new equipment applications and technologies and, ultimately, enhance their competitiveness within the marketplace.

For more information, contact Matt Inniger, project manager, at 419-535-6000, ext. 114 or minniger@ciftinnovation.org.


Engineering Assistance

Extending your team of engineers when the need arises, CIFT provides engineering assistance to food equipment companies on a project-by-project basis.

We can provide processing facility planning assistance to coordinate sanitary and safe product flow with good manufacturing practices, or help design equipment to appropriate hygienic guidelines.

CIFT is eager to increase the effectiveness of your company by handling a project to in turn allow your team to focus on other areas.

For more information, contact Matt Inniger, project manager, at 419-535-6000, ext. 114 or minniger@ciftinnovation.org.


Technology Commercialization

CIFT leads the way in the commercialization of several newly patented technologies.  Our equipment partners play a critical role in the commercialization process by exploring, designing, building and helping to market the novel equipment.  As a result, equipment manufacturers develop new relationships and generate additional business revenue.

For more information, contact Rebecca Singer, president and CEO, at 419-535-6000, ext. 109 or rsinger@ciftinnovation.org.


Technology Transfer

Utilizing a network of university researchers, government agencies, and industry suppliers, CIFT actively pursues research opportunities with an emphasis on potential commercial interest.  Many of these applications involve connecting equipment manufacturers to develop pilot plant equipment with the ultimate goal of product and process commercialization.

For more information, contact Rebecca Singer, president and CEO, at 419-535-6000, ext. 109 or rsinger@ciftinnovation.org.


Waste Reduction & Remediation

CIFT's staff of engineers specializes in identifying Pollution Prevention (P2) initiatives that have a positive impact on bottom line financials. CIFT helps reduce the adverse impacts of wastewater and manage process wastes and by-products, including reducing the impact of wastewater discharge through innovative treatment and/or reuse of process water. Our expertise includes environmental regulatory compliance that relates to wastewater discharge, air emissions, storm water, pollution prevention plans, and spill prevention control plans.

Energy/Environmental Program
The Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) utilizes the entire network of engineering resources, equipment manufacturers and suppliers at its disposal to provide a complete and cost effective evaluation.

Ohio MEP provides a comprehensive array of on-site engineering support services and assessment for existing systems in the following value-added areas:

Power and Lighting

• Automated controls
• Equipment motors

Water Usage

• Facility reduction and reuse opportunities
• Process modifications
• Use of high pressure, low volume systems

Utilities Efficiency Assessments
• Compressed air systems
• Steam and condensation
• Refrigeration, heating and cooling systems

Water and Air Discharge
• Address regulatory and local municipal issues

• Process waste reduction
• Zero landfill initiatives

These services can generate large savings for your plant. In some cases, you might be able to receive supplemental funding for the audit!

Contact Ohio MEP at 567.225.3302 or info@northwestohiomep.org to find out more.


Operational Excellence

A partnership to combine manufacturing services between CIFT and Lean Manufacturing Solutions (LMS) helps Ohio food manufacturers achieve and maintain true “operational excellence” – a strategy employed by many highly successful companies around the world to achieve maximum efficiency, thereby enhancing the economy and job growth.

In today’s food industry, lean manufacturing has taken a commanding role to achieve operational excellence.  There is often a challenge to benefit from the principles of lean manufacturing while maintaining current regulatory and reporting requirements.

Or, too frequently, companies take advantage of the principles of lean only sporadically by holding events, which are successful for a time, but benefits tend to fade away over time.

“Our approach is to work with companies to develop an overall strategy so that their investment in lean and continuous improvement generates significant, tangible benefits over the long term,” states Jon Geisler, president, LMS.  “Companies will have a road map for reaping the rewards of these management and organizational techniques on a permanent basis.”

CIFT and LMS have many years’ experience in the food industry in management, operations, engineering, quality, and logistics in companies from all sectors of the industry.  The team can assist with:
•    Process engineering improvements
•    Lean leadership systems and culture change
•    Green belt/black belt mentoring
•    Customized problem solving  training
•    Quality management systems implementation
•    Implementing lean six sigma projects

The CIFT/LMS approach involves working with top management to determine an overall strategy.

For more information, contact Rebecca Singer, president and CEO, at 419-535-6000, ext. 109 or rsinger@ciftinnovation.org.