An investment of £11 million will be made into developing new business projects to improve the resource efficiency and resilience of the UK food and drink supply chain.
Funded by the Technology Strategy Board, Defra and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, a competition Improving food supply chain efficiency will open on 13 October for collaborative research and development projects to get funding.
The aim of the competition is to reduce waste; use resources such as energy, water and raw materials more efficiently or improve the productivity of food manufacturing and processing operations.
Through the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering (NCEFE) at Sheffield Hallam University, the fund provides an opportunity to grow the UK’s food engineering capability by bringing together industry and academia to research and develop new and improved resource efficient solutions for the sector.
Premier Foods chief executive and chairman of the industry board for NCEFE said: “Access to this fund will support new and innovative engineering solutions that will help improve the industry’s competitiveness and ultimately deliver better resource efficiency. NCEFE will play an important role as a hub for industry collaboration to address a range of industry-wide challenges.”
Food and Drink Federation director general Melanie Leech added: “I am delighted the importance of the food industry has been recognised through this major new investment, which will allow businesses to collaborate to find industry-wide innovative engineering solutions, creating a more resilient and resource-efficient food and drink manufacturing supply chain.
“Through initiatives such as this fund and the development of the NCEFE at Sheffield Hallam University, industry will be able to unlock its growth potential and drive competitive advantage.”