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To Market, to Market...

"You can make the greatest product, but that doesn't matter if you can't market it. I always say it's easy to get it on the shelf; the hardest part is getting it off the shelf."
     —GAYE SANDOZ, director, LSU AgCenter Food Incubator

Dr. Gayle SandozGaye Sandoz discovered her life's passion when she was seven years old. As a young girl creating mixes for her Easy Bake oven, Sandoz knew then that she wanted to be in the food business.

Sandoz now has seen her dreams come true. One night in January, 10,000 of her Clever Kitchen Microwave Barbecue Chicken Roasters, each with a recipe book, sold out on shopping channel QVC in 10 minutes. Customers continue to order online, and they give the chicken roaster five-star reviews while asking for new recipes. (photo, right: Gayle Sandoz - by Biran Baiamonte)

Sandoz's most recent success did not happen overnight. She started working on the roaster three years ago, when the single mom was on the hunt for an alternative method to barbecue chicken indoors.

As director of the LSU AgCenter Food Incubator, Sandoz spends her days helping budding entrepreneurs establish and develop their emerging food ventures, including bringing products to market. The incubator helps companies survive and grow during the startup period by providing business support, services and resources. In addition to having access to the LSU AgCenter Food Incubator's staff and shared-use processing area and kitchen, clients also have access to LSU's Food Science Department.

One of the food incubator's success stories is Re: salad dressing and marinade. Co-owners Kristen Bateman and Sarah Vincent, lifelong friends who grew up in Central, have seen Re:, a garlic vinaigrette, hit the shelves of more than 15 stores in the Capital Region in the past year. Bateman says the food incubator has enabled the fledgling company's success. "The food incubator has been instrumental in helping us get to where we are and in providing guidance through the entire process," she says. "If we were trying to do this on our own, it would take a long time to get to where we are now."

revised: 10-Mar-2017 10:19