Looking for a Pilot Plant or a Food Innovation Center?

Our mission is to help brands of all-sizes find their ideal pilot plant or food innovation center to help them in the project development needs.

What is a Food Innovation Center?

A Food Innovation Center is a collaborative facility that fosters research, development, and testing of new food products, processes, and technologies. It serves as a hub for food entrepreneurs, researchers, and industry experts to come together, exchange ideas, and work on cutting-edge innovations in the food industry.

Recruiting Food Innovation Centers

The Contract Manufacturing Alliance is forming partnerships with Food Innovation Centers at local, regional, and national levels across the country, aiming to provide tailored extension services to cater to the specific needs of each center's clientele. Our exclusive mission is to support startup, emerging, and established consumer product brands through various avenues, ensuring their growth and success.

What is the Difference Between a Pilot Plant and a Food Innovation Center?

Food Innovation Centers Together as One Voice

The Contract Manufacturing Alliance is creating an extension program to align all Food Innovation Centers together.  We are creating a Food Innovation Center and Pilot Plant search tool for future clients to find a location for their needs as well.

One Group: Food Innovation Centers

We are currently talking with a-number of Food Innovation Centers about creating an extension of the Contract Manufacturing Alliance / Contract Packaging Association that help them with a long-list of needs that could include subjects such as:

Helping With Manufacturing
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Starting With Local Sales Opportunities
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Expanding CPG Opportunities in America
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Introducing New Brands to Customers
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Food Innovation Centers:
Looking For Customers?

The Contract Manufacturing Alliance’s founders have over 35-years in the consumer products space and are available to help create new brand group (start-up, emerging and established) customer needs relating to innovating, creating and launching brands into the marketplace.
Recruiting New Food Innovation Centers:  The Contract Packaging Association's  membership includes pilot plants, contract manufacturers, private labelers and commercial kitchens of all-types. We are recruiting current Food Innovation Centers to offer pilot runs and /or to create pilot plants within their own locations. We also are working with colleges and universities with current programs.

Food Innovation Centers:
Helping Your Clients?

The Contract Manufacturing Alliance's founders have created programs specific to the clients of food innovation centers nationwide (also pilot plants, commercial kitchens, farmer’s markets and others).
1.) Working With Retailers and Food Service Operators: We have created modules that align new brands (current and future) of retailers and food service operators. We are also introducing them to other customer types in their areas (examples including e-commerce platforms).
2.) Incubation Programming: We have created white label incubation models ideal for Food Innovation Centers (for their clients).

The Contract Manufacturing Alliance

The Eight Arms of Manufacturing:

The Contract Packaging Association and the Co-Packing Network established the Contract Manufacturing Alliance as a prime resource for all aspects of consumer product manufacturing, catering to startups, emerging, and established brands.
Explore more at www.ContractMFG.org

Our Search By County Tool: Commercial Kitchens

We created the 'Search By County' Tool to help food industry start-ups find the ideal commercial kitchen (also known as a commissary kitchen, kitchen incubator) in their area. We list the commercial kitchens by county and by zip code.
Look for our other programs relating to help with working with farmer's markets; our commercial kitchen incubation programs for clients of commercial kitchens and our own efforts helping create new kitchens.

Logo for CPA

Pioneering Industry Standards in Contract Packaging & Manufacturing

Established in 1992, the Contract Packaging Association (CPA) is the national, non-profit trade organization dedicated to promoting the growth and welfare of firms in the Contract Packaging / Manufacturing industry and related businesses. We offer exposure and programs designed to foster growth within our member firms.


A Century of Expertise in Consumer Product Manufacturing

The Co-Packing Network is a comprehensive national Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) advisory group deeply rooted in the diverse US and Canadian consumer product manufacturing industries. Celebrating our 100-year anniversary, our expansive history spans supermarkets, wholesaling, manufacturing, owning brands, and beyond.


The Contract Manufacturing Alliance's founders have over 30-years in the consumer products space and are available to help brand groups with their manufacturing and launch needs (start-up, emerging and established). Helping Pilot Plants and Food Innovation Centers: The Contract Manufacturing Alliance is helping Pilot Plants and Food Innovation Centers find new customers starting with its launch of the Search Tool (helping food start-ups and entrepreneurs find a pilot plant and / or food innovation center in their area).

We offer all Pilot Plants and Food Innovation Centers with tools that help their clients (such as incubation programs). We will be availing our matchmaking platforms to our Pilot Plant and Food Innovation Center partners that have needs for kitchen equipment, ingredients, packaging, recipe tools and much more.

* The Contract Packaging Association itself has expanded its membership to now include Pilot Plants and Food Innovation Centers (www.ContractPackaging.org for more details).

The Contract Manufacturing Alliance’s founders have created an incubation program specific to the clients of Pilot Plants and Food Innovation Centers nationwide.

Incubation Programming: We have created white label incubation models ideal for Pilot Plants and Food Innovation Centers that help their clients with subjects relating to the business. These include subjects such as retailers, calendar reviews, distributors, brokers, funding, PO financing, logistics, recipe and formulation help, packaging, ingredients, food service, exporting product and more.

The Contract Manufacturing Alliance

Creating products for the following:

100 Years Experience

Our family has been involved within the consumer product industry (US based manufacturing, retailing, distribution) since the early 1920’s.  From the first generation to the latest, our best practices have been handed down over time leading to a long legacy of successes in the business (manufacturing, retailing, distribution and more).

Our New Community Tool: Squawkee

We our using our own media assets by creating, Squawkee, a new community communication tool aligning with internal and external relationships, platforms (with their own slack communities) and more. We will be offering our programs (examples include  Pilot Plants, Commercial Kitchens, Expo Manager, Ingredient Manager and others) to anyone in the industry (to use for their members and clients).

Our Own Media:

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Contract Packaging (CP) is the official magazine for the Contract Packaging Association, published three times each year by PMMI Media Group (owners of Packaging World magazine). Dedicated exclusively to contract packaging issues and news, each issue is overseen by Editor-in-Chief, Anne Marie Mohan. 20,000 qualified packaging professionals receive each edition of CP. These professionals are individuals who have indicated that they have purchase involvement in contract packaging and related services and products. Magazine recipients are also contract packagers, who are CPA members.

What is the Difference Between a Pilot Plant and a Food Innovation Center?

Pilot Plant: A Pilot Plant is a small-scale facility within a food manufacturing company or research institution where food products are developed, tested, and scaled up before mass production. Its focus is on conducting experiments and trials related to specific food processes, recipes, and equipment, with the ultimate-goal of optimizing production efficiency and quality.
* A Pilot Plant may offer small manufacturing runs that a brand group may use to launch in a local or test market.

Food Innovation Center: A Food Innovation Center, on the other hand, is a collaborative facility that brings together multiple stakeholders, including entrepreneurs, researchers, industry experts, and often multiple companies. The center’s primary aim is to foster research, development, and testing of new food products, processes, and technologies. It serves as a hub for generating cutting-edge innovations and supporting food startups, emerging brands, and established consumer product groups through various resources, expertise, and collaborative opportunities.

In summary, while both pilot plants and food innovation centers contribute to food product development, the pilot plant is more specific to a single organization’s experimental production needs, while the food innovation center provides a broader platform for collaborative research and development across the food industry.

University-Based Food Innovation Centers

  1. Ownership:  Affiliated with universities and often hosted within the academic institution’s facilities.
  2. Focus:  Primarily oriented towards research, education, and supporting students and faculty engaged in food-related studies.
  3. Funding:  Supported through university funding, research grants, government funding, and collaborations with the industry.
  4. Intellectual Property:  Intellectual property policies can vary by university but often involve a mix of open-access research and proprietary licensing.

Non-Profit Food Innovation Centers

  1. Ownership:  Operated by non-profit organizations dedicated to advancing the food industry’s interests and promoting social welfare.
  2. Focus:  Often centered on research, sustainable practices, nutrition, food safety, and community development.
  3. Funding:  Rely on grants, donations, government funding, and philanthropic support.
  4. Intellectual Property:  Research outcomes and innovations may be shared with the public, industry, or other stakeholders for broader impact.

Private Food Innovation Centers

  1. Ownership:  Privately-owned and operated by corporations or companies in the food industry.
  2. Focus:  Typically focused on developing new products, technologies, and processes to enhance their own food products and brands.
  3. Funding:  Reliant on private funding from the owning company or industry partnerships.
  4. Intellectual Property:  Research outcomes and innovations may be proprietary and used exclusively by the company.