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Aligning food and drink sector R&D needs and priorities with the UK's Industrial Strategy

Posted on 15/02/2018

KTN's Food Sector Group has produced a paper to define clear priorities and needs for pre-competitive and industrial R&D in the food and drink sector.

The food and drink sector is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, contributing an estimated £28.8 billion to the economy.

KTN’s Food Sector Group provides the food and drink industry with a voice to inform KTN, Innovate UK and others of the major technology and innovation needs and opportunities in their sector. The industry-led Food Sector Group has produced a paper to define clear priorities, common language and ways of working for pre-competitive and industrial R&D, necessary to advance the UK’s largest manufacturing sector. The research identified will substantially improve productivity, and it is intended that this document will be used by the Food and Drink Sector for submissions to government sponsored funding calls and interactions with government stakeholders.

Alignment with Industrial Strategy

Publication of the Industrial Strategy White Paper in 2017 highlights a commonality of purpose and language with its emphasis on data-driven economies, clean growth and meeting the needs of an ageing society.

The announcement of support for industrially relevant R&D, including the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, providing an additional £7 billion investment into science and innovation up to 2023, and the formation of UKRI from the combined Research Councils and Innovate UK, provides a timely opportunity for a major drive to address our ‘grand challenges’.

Five areas have been identified by the Food Sector Group where there is an excellent UK research and industrial capability and global market potential.

  1. Reducing food energy density
  2. Side-stream valorisation
  3. Sustainable new food sources for nutritional foods
  4. Flexible and scalable manufacturing
  5. Digital manufacturing

The timing is right for developing and addressing these five areas, where there is already considerable expertise and knowledge ready to be exploited, and where public money can work alongside private sector investment to create a more cohesive solution and make the UK a world leader.

Specific areas of interest

The paper provides  details of specific areas of technological interest for commercial and societal opportunities with short, medium and long-term aspects, including:

  1. Reducing food energy density
  2. Side-stream valorisation
  3. Sustainable new food sources for nutritional foods
  4. Flexible and scalable manufacturing
  5. Digital manufacturing

You can download the paper here.

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