NCFIL test kitchen

Plant-Based Food Innovation Lab ONEsolution

Innovation lab for plant-based foods

North Carolina State University wanted to create a plant-based food innovation lab where scientists from industry and academia would come together in partnership with economic developers and entrepreneurs to accelerate plant-based food research, ideation, development and commercialization. They wanted the lab built to Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) standards and regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

CRB provided a ONEsolutionTM execution strategy for the design and construction of the retrofitted space, which consists of product development, research and quality assurance labs, CGMP rooms, processing areas, collaboration spaces, cold storage and equipment storage.

The result is the North Carolina Food Innovation Lab (NCFIL) which is the only one of its kind in the United States. While there are other university-based food innovation centers, this facility is the only one built to CGMP standards and regulated by the FDA. The lab serves as a hub for food manufacturing advancement, revolutionizing food processing in North Carolina.

Project Details


NC Food Innovation Lab


The David H. Murdock Core Laboratory Building at the North Carolina Research Campus, Kannapolis, North Carolina

Square Footage



$7.2 million

“This facility will succeed with a wide variety of customers with unique needs and objectives. We’ll be able to support start-up companies working to get new products to market; established companies seeking to expand product lines; and equipment manufacturers looking to demonstrate new equipment capability.” - Dr. Bill Aimutis, executive director, NCFIL

CRB’s ONEsolution strategy allowed the schematic and detailed design to occur concurrently with real-time input on constructability from strategically selected trade partners. This enabled the project team to streamline the transition from design through fabrication to construction. The integrated ONEsolution delivery focused on implementing innovative design and construction best practices to deliver the NCFIL project on schedule at a target value cost.

“Our biggest challenge was designing a space flexible enough to support processes and innovations that could be developed in the next ten years, based on the processes that were planned for in the present. We had to focus on flexibility throughout the entire design and construction process. ” - Pablo Coronel, PhD, director of food processing, CRB
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