Improving knowledge transfer is one of three key ambitions revealed by the Food and Drink Federaton (FDF), as part of its plan to deliver sustainable growth for the UK food and drink manufacturing industry.
The three ambitions – unveiled in the FDF’s new Delivering sustainable growth through innovation plan – were presented last night (December 11) at the FDF President’s reception in London.
The other two ambitions were: ensuring the sector has the technical skills required to compete worldwide and attract inward investment and to create a multi-disciplinary approach to deliver integrated solutions.
Achieving the ambitions – themselves based on 10 long-term innovation research priorities listed below – will help to deliver the FDF’s 2020 Vision For Growth plan, said the FDF.
Transformed consumers’ lives
FDF President Jim Moseley, who launched the vision document, said food and drink manufacturers had transformed consumers’ lives over the past 100 years by introducing innovations.
“To write the next chapter in this success story will require the shared commitment of industry, government and the research community to work together on the priority areas identified in this vision,” said Moseley.
A key generator of innovation will be the new Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering at Sheffield Hallam University. The initiative will showcase how industry, government and the academic world can work together to bridge the research gap, according to the FDF.
Domestic and export sales
Environment secretary Owen Paterson said the FDF’s Innovation Vision would help the food industry to grow both domestic and export sales.
“I want to see the industry build on its success and become a global leader in developing new technologies,” said Paterson. “That's why I’m working closely with farmers, manufacturers and retailers across the whole food sector to make it easier for businesses to grow both in the UK and abroad.
“Whether it’s encouraging more investment in the UK through agri-technologies or flying the flag for Great British food abroad, I’m determined to do all I can to ensure the industry prospers and remains competitive for the future.”
Commenting before the event, universities and science minister David Willetts predicted that growing, manufacturing and distributing food without waste will become even more challenging in future. But the UK was well placed to respond quickly, he said.
“The agri-food sector contributes around £96bn to the UK economy each year and we have a global reputation for product innovation,” said Willetts.
“The FDF’s vision for innovation in manufacturing, will support the government’s existing agri-tech strategy and will allow for a more unified approach to innovation, throughout the supply-chain, keeping the UK at the forefront of the global race,” he continued.
Moseley will hand over the FDF presidency at the end of this year to Richard Evans, president of PepsiCo UK and Ireland.
FDF’s key ambitions
- Improve knowledge transfer
- Ensure the sector has the technical skills required to compete globally and attract inward investment
- Create a multi-disciplinary, strategically focused approach to deliver integrated solutions.
FDF’s 10 innovation priorities
- Food safety
- Authenticity and traceability
- Health and wellbeing through diet
- Smarter packaging
- New and smarter ingredients
- Next generation (integrated) retail
- Understanding and changing behaviours/drivers
- Energy and water
- Waste minimisation
- Manufacturing of the future.