MANILA – Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Mario Montejo said all regions in the country must have a food innovation center (FIC) this year.
“Some regions already have an FIC, while others will soon have their own,” Montejo told the Philippines News Agency.
DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) Director Maria Patricia Azanza described FIC as a place where protoypes of food concepts were created.
She added that an FIC was usually located in an educational institution.
Azanza said that at present, there were more than 11,000 food concepts in the FIC at ITDI office in Bicutan alone. Two hundred of these concepts already have a protoype.
The 200 sample products were showcased at Casa Buena de Pulilan, Bulacan, during the DOST’s Science Nation tour- Central Luzon leg.
“The Philippines have some very unique food products. Wen should make the most of of these,” Montejo said.
In Region III where Bulacan is located, Montejo said the FIC would be established at the Bulacan State University, and expected to be operational by June.
The DOST chief cited that for the meantime, people from Region III could go to ITDI to make prototypes of their food concepts.
Meanwhile, among the equipment/technologies found in an FIC include vacuum fryer, spray dryer and water retort.
Vacuum fryer allows frying of vegetables, root crops, mangoes and jackfruits without eliminating their color and natural flavor.
Spray dryer provides faster and more efficient drying method, as well as better control of powder quality.
Water retort, on the other hand, offers a retortable pouch packaging as low-cost, environment-friendly alternative.
DOST-ITDI said retort refers to the method of heat sterilization which frees the products from pathogens.
The DOST-attached agency added that FICs are also equipped with vacuum evaporator for coco honey, tomato paste and condensed milk; freeze dryer for meats, fruits, and vegetables; vacuum packaging machine ideal for foods stored and packed in retortable pouches like cereals, nuts, cured meat, chips, and the like; and the immersion freezer which ensures faster cooling process.