Food Sector Group meets to discuss innovation for the benefit of the sector and the UK

Posted on: 17/03/2020

The Food Sector Group is a long-standing meeting organised by the KTN AgriFood team including industry, academic, UKRI & governmental representative.


The Food Sector Group is a long-standing meeting organised by the KTN AgriFood team including industry, academic, UKRI and governmental representatives. It’s currently chaired by Ian Noble, Senior RDQ Director at Mondelez. We meet three times per year to discuss themes around innovation in the food sector. We focus on how we can best work together within a pre-competitive framework, for the benefit of the whole sector and the UK.


In advance of the February meeting, we organised a webinar for research funding bodies to share information about the funding landscape with the group. Kathryn Miller (UKRI Innovate) and Dave O’Gorman (UKRI BBSRC) gave updates. Click here to watch the updates.


The Food Sector Group then met on 6 February. The meeting was hosted by Unilever at Colworth Park, Bedfordshire.


We have recently organised a pre-meeting with briefings on the funding landscape from research funding bodies. For this inaugural event, the meeting kicked off with an introduction to the history, present and future of Colworth Park (which offers serviced offices and labs in Bedfordshire). We then paid a visit to Firmenich, one of Colworth Park’s tenants. Firmenich is a flavour and fragrance house that assists companies with developing flavours for food and drink products.


Rachel Ward from the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) provided a round-up of areas of interest. She highlighted the New Scientist Live event (15-18 October 2020) where IFST will have a stand. Rachel offered to coordinate any food related stands into a larger food space. If you’re interested, please email and we’ll connect you.


One member told the group about attending an event bringing together industry representatives from the formulated product sector and UK mathematical scientists. The event was run by the KTN Industrial Maths team.


Individual industry talks were held over the course of the week. They were summarised into three themes, capturing the breadth of the discussions. The proposal is then to create an EPSRC Big Idea, building on these themes. Matt Butchers from KTN is running a mathematics study group with the University of Nottingham in April. For more information, click here.


Other areas covered in this meeting were:

The ISCF Manufacturing Made Smarter programme
– Suggestions for BBSRC on their future priorities for engagement with industry
– Possible commercial opportunities through EIT Food
РThe convening of a food sector-wide group application to any future rounds of the BBSRC’s CTP programme for industrially relevant PhD studentships.


Interested in attending our next meeting? 

Our next meeting is to be hosted by Campden BRI on Thursday 4th June, following the Campden BRI day on 3 June.

If you are innovating in the food manufacturing space and are interested in attending future meetings, please email to discuss.

Share this article


Connect with Innovate UK Business Connect

Join Innovate UK Business Connect's mailing list to receive updates on funding opportunities, events and to access Innovate UK Business Connect's deep expertise. Please check your email to confirm your subscription and select your area(s) of interest.