NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – The Impossible Burger got its start thanks in part to Rutgers University’s food incubator.
Now the school is working with other food entrepreneurs to create their own recipes for success, reports CBS2’s Tom Hanson.
Tom and Jacob Ciancaglini are the men behind the pizza cone, a gooey mix of cheese and tomato sauce.
The cousins started making Chank’s Grab-N-Go snacks after their fathers saw the concept on a trip to Italy. Betting americans would crave the taste and convenience, they launched a food truck selling their pizza cones at events.
“We had great success there and just got better events as the years went on,” said Jacob Ciancaglini.
When it was time to expand, they connected with the Rutgers Food Innovation Center.
“It’s unbelievable how complex the food industry is,” said Associate Director of Marketing and Business Development Diane Holtaway at Rutgers.
The center guides clients through the production process, from marketing to manufacturing. Part of its mission is to promote economic development in New Jersey. They often hire locally and some of their clients establish headquarters in the state.
Holtaway says some participants come in with a prized family recipe.
“How do you take an idea and scale it up and manufacture it?” she said.
Others already have a product they want to grow, like Chanks Grab-N-Go.
“If they have long-term and big goals, we’re going to help them get there,” she said.
A staff of industry veterans, including director Nolan Lewin, makes Rutgers’ Food Incubator unique.
“We know what it’s like to stay awake at night, think about an idea and how to make it successful,” he said.
Chanks is currently manufacturing its pizza cone at Rutgers’ facility in Bridgeton, N.J.
“They’ve been helping me along the whole time,” said Jacob Ciancaglini. “They really made a big difference.”
Now the cones are selling at college football stadiums and on Amazon.
Chanks Grab-N-Go is adding new flavors to their menu, with plans to place cones in more venues-and hands-
across the country.