The Central Food Research Institute (CFRI), the predecessor of the Food Science Research Institute (FSRI), a research institute of the National Agricultural and Innovation Centre (NARIC, established on January 1, 2014) was founded on 1st July 1959 at the bombed, then later reconstructed Herman Ottó street campus in Budapest of the Hungarian Royal Agricultural, Botanical and Viticultural Institute to assist the operation of the Hungarian food industry.
Dr. Gábor Török was the first leader of CFRI, who was a highly respected chemist with wide scientific interest and high practical experience.
After his sudden death in 1966, Dr. Károly Vas was appointed to the Institute's Director. Dr. Károly Vas has unforgettable merits for laying down the foundations of science-based food preservation, in exploring the method of effect of physical and chemical antimicrobial factors, in food analysis, in production and food industrial application of microbial enzyme preparations, as well as in development of certain food microbiological methods. He has undying merits in further developing of CFRI, strengthening its international relationships, attempting to have food scientific activities recognized, and organizing a nationwide coordinated research program. Under his leadership, the recently still active Complex Committee on Food Science of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) was set up, and he was also the founding editor-in-chief of the international journal Acta Alimentaria, edited in Hungary.
After Dr. Károly Vas' death in 1981, Dr. Péter Biacs became the director of the Institute, who was president of the Hungarian Food Science Association (MÉTE) for many years. Under his leadership, the Food Biology Department was established in order to identify health risks (such as allergens) in foods.
During this research period of the Institute, analyzes on the enzymatic oxidation of plant fats in various horticultural products was a successful field of research.
At the same time, researches on biosensors, development of fruit and vegetable powders with high biological value, fermentation of biologically active compounds, the continuation of membrane separation research, the development of membranes, and the expansion of the possibilities of the dielectric techniques’ applications were also started.
The transformation and privatization of the food industry in the Hungary that was about to join the EU, the new challenges of the food science of the 21th century and the recognition of the importance of food safety made the institute transform itself into a completely renewed institute in its structure and approach, in accordance with the changed conditions.
This was accomplished under the guidance of Dr. Diána Bánáti, who took over the leadership of the institute in 2000.
As a sign of the intellectual renewal of the Institute, in 2001 it changed its name –changes only in the Hungarian official name-, from - the literally translated- Central Food Industrial Research Institute to Central Food Science Research Institute. The previously used official name of the institute in English as Central Food Research Institute did not change.
The institute's basic, applied and adaptational researches and furthermore the experimental developments have focused and still focus on the scientific foundation of modern food production with special regard to the food safety and modern nutrition topics as well as to the environmentally friendly and energy-saving technologies and the consumer’ health promoting issues.
Since 2010, there have been several changes in the management and the name of the Institute, and then finally it was established as the Food Science Research Institute of the National Agricultural and Innovation Centre. The current head of the Institute is Dr. László Abrankó, who has taken this position since June 15, 2017.