(Cincinnati, OH) June 14, 2011 – Wornick Foods, a leading manufacturer of convenience foods and customized meal solutions, announced that it was awarded a $1.7 million grant from Ohio Third Frontier to establish a microwave assisted thermal sterilization technology (MATS) Research and Development Center at its facility in Cincinnati, Ohio.
MATS is an FDA approved process for sterilizing foods that can dramatically improve food quality over traditional food processing techniques. The Ohio Department of Development said MATS has the potential to “fundamentally change the way food is processed.” The new MATS center at Wornick Foods will support the commercialization of the new technology for the food processing and packaging industry.
“Wornick Foods has a long history of bringing innovation to the food industry,” Jon Geisler, president of Wornick. “In my 25 years in the industry, I’ve not seen an advanced technology with this much potential. We have assembled an internal team of experts that will lead our commercialization efforts.”
The Washington State University Microwave Sterilization Consortium (MATS Consortium) was formed in 2001 with memberships from a number of industrial partners including leading consumer product goods companies and U.S. Army’s Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center (NATICK). The grant from the Ohio Third Frontier is dependent on the MATS Consortium choosing Wornick as the exclusive owner/operator of the MATS Research and Development Center.
Wornick is collaborating with The Ohio State University, the Center for Innovative Food Technology of Toledo, AmPac Packaging and Nestle. The company is planning a $10 million investment to create the R & D Center where consumer products companies can test the process. The Third Frontier grant will be used to purchase equipment to support the MATS commercialization efforts.
The high-tech microwave equipment will be manufactured and installed at the facility in 2012. Initially, the pilot line will be used to produce food products for manufacturers and the Army. A staff of 18 – 28 people is expected to work on the new line.
Currently, Wornick Foods counts national restaurant chains and large consumer product companies in its portfolio of customers in addition to the U.S. government. The company has been a leading supplier of individual and group feeding rations to the U.S. military, supplying MREs to the U.S. military since the inception of the program in 1978.
About Wornick Foods
Wornick Foods is a leading supplier of convenience foods and military rations to institutional customers including the U.S. government and other large Consumer Product Goods companies. The company’s shelf safe™ foods are co-manufactured under leading brands sold in retail and foodservice outlets throughout the United States. Wornick, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, was founded in 1979 and employs more than 500 people.
About Ohio Third Frontier
Ohio Third Frontier, an unprecedented and bipartisan commitment to create new technology-based products, companies, industries, and jobs, has attracted more than $5.9 billion in other investments to Ohio, and has a nearly 9:1 return on investment since its inception. The Ohio Third Frontier has also assisted in the creation and retention of more than 68,000 direct and indirect jobs for Ohioans. For more information, visit ohiothirdfrontier.com.