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March 19, 2007

Purdue cooks up advice on starting successful food business

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Farmers, homemakers and entrepreneurial Hoosiers can to learn how to start a food-related business at an upcoming seminar, through which past attendees starting their own ventures have annually been responsible for pumping $1 million to $2 million into Indiana's economy.

An Introduction to Starting a Specialty Food Business in Indiana is an all-day seminar sponsored by Purdue University Extension that will take place on April 25 at the Indiana Farm Bureau, 225 S. East St., Indianapolis.

The event, which will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., will feature experts in a variety of fields, from agricultural economics to food safety and business planning. Registration is $75 and begins at 8 a.m. Those interested in attending should preregister by April 18 by contacting De Bush, Purdue food science extension assistant, at (765) 496-3832,

Seminar organizers said the course is designed to help people of all experience levels, from the curious novice to the successful entrepreneur. Presenters will discuss financial issues, such as marketing and business planning before exploring issues like food safety and how to comply with governmental regulations.

A significant portion of the time will be devoted to understanding the chemistry of certain foods and how this can be used to produce a safe and healthy product. Information about product development, packaging and labeling also will be covered.

"We provide a comprehensive overview of issues associated with starting a specialty food business in Indiana," said Kevin Keener, a Purdue professor of food science who helps organize the seminar. "I see this event as adding value to the state and giving Hoosiers a better opportunity to create their own local businesses. Besides the money and jobs they bring the state, food businesses give people the chance to pursue something they feel strongly about."

Since its inception in 2003, the specialty foods workshop has attracted nearly 170 participants. Each year, participants start approximately 20 new food businesses with a success rate of about 5 percent. These successful businesses have sold meat, snack foods and salsa, among other items.

Presenting at the event will be Maria Marshall, professor of agricultural economics. In addition to Bush, representatives from the Indiana State Department of Health, Indiana State Department of Agriculture and Indiana Small Business Development Center also will present.

Harry Thompson, a successful entrepreneur who started Trader's Point Creamery, will share his story and tips for success in the food industry.

More information about the seminar can be found at the Purdue Department of Food Science Web site at .

For those unable to attend this seminar, another session will take place Oct. 11 at the Purdue Extension office in Lake County. The office is located at 2293 N. Main St., in Crown Point.

Writer: Douglas M Main, (765)496-2050,

Sources: Maria Marshall, (765) 494-4268,

Kevin Keener, (765) 494-6648,

De Bush, (765) 496-3832,

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Beth Forbes,
Agriculture News Page

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