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Identifying scientific and technical needs of the food and drink supply chain

Posted on 25/01/2018

Campden BRI have published the results of their latest survey of the needs of the food industry.

The food and drink supply chain is big business with the potential to contribute significantly to future sustainable growth in the UK. Figures taken from the Defra Food Statistics Pocket Book show that the agri-food sector contributed £112.0 billion or 6.4% to national Gross Value Added (GVA) in 2016, and the food sector in Great Britain employed 3.4 million people in Q1 2017. It is also forms an important part of the UK’s trading relationships with the rest of the world, with food and drink exports valued at £20.1 billion in 2016.

Campden BRI provides the food and drink industry with the practical scientific, technical and advisory services needed to ensure product safety and quality, process efficiency and product and process innovation. With over 2,400 member companies in more than 75 countries it is ideally placed to consult with its industry members over their scientific and technical needs across the food supply chain –  ‘pre-farm to post-fork’.

The full report on their 2017 consultation is now available,  providing a statement of industry ‘needs’, not of solutions or approaches to addressing those needs. The overall intentions of this 3-yearly consultation are to:

  • Target Campden BRI’s support for industry
  • Provide a resource for companies to sense check their own needs and shape their own strategies
  • Raise awareness of industry’s needs amongst government departments, agencies, funding bodies, standards organisations, universities and other science and technology providers

Industry needs that were highlighted in the report include:
· Sustaining product quality in the face of rising costs of operations and materials
· Soil health – recognition of soil as a resource and methods for its protection
· Human microbiota – understanding and harnessing the role of gut microbes in diet-related health conditions
· Anti-microbial resistance – addressing its significance for the food and drink sector
· Artificial intelligence (AI) and cyber-security – managing the benefits and risks of the ‘connected world’ (e.g. Internet of Things, ‘Big Data’, and machine learning)
· Assuring product safety through systems and analytical tools
· Encouraging consumer well-being through healthy diets
· Protecting consumers and industry from food fraud
· Encouraging sustainable practices, reduced use of resources and adding value to waste
· Tackling industry’s ‘skills shortage’

You can find out more about Campden BRI here, and you can download a copy of the Scientific and Technical Needs of the Food and Drink Supply Chain document here.

If you would like to discuss opportunities for innovation in agri-food you can contact KTN’s Agri-Food Team.


If you found this story interesting, you may also wish to read:

Developing high-value, healthy and nutritious foods

New competition to drive innovation in the UK food sector

Global Business Accelerator Programme – Healthy & sustainable food, nutrition, substitutes technologies


You may also wish to find out more about the following KTN events:

Food Industry Innovation 2018 – 7 March, Manchester

Driving engagement, innovation and impact in plant science – 27 March 2018, Sheffield

East Midlands Innovation – Leicester Innovation Week – Food and Drink Focus – 28 February, Leicester