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The food and drink manufacturing sector comprises over 6,000 companies and typically £1bn has been spent on R&D each year and 8,500 new products brought to the market.

(*source: Agri-Tech launch July 2013).

Did you know this is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK? This fact surprised everyone! The sector has a fundamental role to play in boosting exports and encouraging a resource efficient and vibrant economy, helping to maintain our national competitiveness and protect the UK’s Food Security.

Significant global challenges will drive innovation within the sector 

We live in an ever demanding and global environment and with ever depleting resources. So our challenge is to produce more from less and reduce the consequences of climate change. This sector therefore needs to:

  • reduce its environmental impact
  • meet growing global demand
  • produce more from less as pressure increases on resources
  • mitigate impacts of climate change
  • reformulate and create new products to meet diet and health requirements

Unlocking the potential of what science can contribute to deliver sustainable growth is a fundamental challenge and will go a long way to help meet the global challenges mentioned above.

So what’s happening at the University of Nottingham?

Well, did you know the university is home to one of the largest communities of plant, crop, nutrition, animal and food science experts in the UK? Add in the additional expertise on its campuses in China and Malaysia then the university is ideally placed scientifically, geographically and politically to undertake high-calibre multidisciplinary research. “We need to find new ways to feed a hungry planet whilst making healthy foods more pleasurable and pleasurable foods healthier”

Our internationally acclaimed research is also focused on the sustainable provision of a safe and secure supply of nutritious food that’s why we were awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher & Further Education. This is in recognition of its cutting-edge research in Global Food Security that helps feed the world’s growing population – work which encompasses everything from growing more crops with less fertiliser, to improving the nutrition, safety and taste of food on the plate.

Manufacturing is fundamental to growth

We host the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Food focused on utilising a ‘Food System’ approach to provide a resource efficient and secure future for the UK food industry. The Centre will tackle research related to the development of Innovative materials, products and processes and sustainable food supply and manufacture. Take a look at our website.

Industry, government and research communities are transforming the way they work together in delivering a shared agenda for sustainable growth across the whole supply chain from seed to digestion.

I would encourage you to read the recently published Food & Drink Capability Statement which is structured to help you, especially industry, navigate and provide ease of access to the university’s expertise within the food and drink sector. The ‘food chain’ expertise is captured within the document on pages 10 to 15 via the capability matrix which illustrates the expertise from primary production through to consumption and digestion.

It’s totally interactive, so why not have a go! For your very own copy click here.

Amreesh Mishra, Corporate Partnerships Senior Executive at University of Nottingham.