University of Minnesota
Office of the Vice President for Research

MnDRIVE: Minnesota's Discovery, Research, and InnoVation Economy

wheat field

Global food ventures

Partnering research, agriculture and industry to develop sustainable solutions for securing the global food supply.

The challenge

The world’s population is expected to grow to more than 9 billion people during the next 40 years, requiring a 70 percent increase in food supply. Despite today’s abundance, nearly one billion people are undernourished, and even in Minnesota, more than 10 percent of our residents lack sufficient food. The economic and human toll of hunger and malnutrition not only affects countries that are food and nutrition insecure, but the global economy. Foodborne illness and obesity caused by non-nutritious food drives increasing rates of chronic disease and adds to health care costs.

The vision

Global food ventures will develop holistic and integrated approaches to ensuring a sustainable, safe and resilient food system.

Minnesota is the sixth largest producer of agricultural products in the nation and about one-fifth of Minnesota’s economy is attributable to agribusiness. In addition, there are more than 200 food headquarters in the state and 2,300 food companies.

The university will leverage its expertise and investments in food, agriculture and public health and partnerships throughout the state to enhance agriculture research, boost critical analysis of current systems and apply newfound knowledge to address food contamination, human, plant and animal diseases and supply threats.

This core MnDRIVE area aims to advance industry practices and public policy to promote global food protection and grow consumers’ confidence in the food they buy, develop new markets for sustainable development to address resource constraints on water and energy and train the next generation of food scientists.

Areas for research potential

Supply chain analysis for food industry competitiveness

Detection and surveillance for existing and emerging plant, human and animal pathogens

Novel food processing and preservation solutions

Holistic animal health and welfare studies

Integrated policy analyses

Consumer education and outreach



Preservative that kills food-borne bacteria

U of M researchers discovered and received a patent for a naturally occurring lantibiotic — a peptide produced by a harmless bacteria —that could be added to food to kill harmful bacteria like salmonella, E. coli and listeria.

Read more

Current projects

Learn about current projects funded through global food ventures.

External partners

See a list of external partners working on global food ventures projects.


Visit our Announcements page for an up-to-date list of news and information, including funding, hires and more.

Additionally, the Highlights page showcases other MnDRIVE stories.