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Innovation club meets for the first time

By Gary Scattergood , 08-Jan-2013
Last updated the 08-Jan-2013 at 11:15 GMT

Pan-European manufacturers that have signed up to Leatherhead Food Research's (LFR's) innovation 'club' will get a glimpse of the latest novel emulsion, hygiene and fibre optic sensing technologies at its first meeting later this month.

LFR set up its 'Food Innovation: Intent' group to enable firms to witness and evaluate new and emerging technologies first hand.

Business innovation manager at LFR Steve Osborn said members would be able to assess a broad range of technologies at the January 31 meeting.

"There will be presentations from a novel hygiene technology owner and another with a novel emulsion process that has previously only been used in the pharmaceutical industry," he said.

"There will also be representatives from academic institutions with fibre optic sensing and industrial microwave technologies."

Osborn said the meeting would also identify needs and trends to help with LFR's "technology scouting process" for the club's future quarterly meetings.

Six major pan-European manufacturers

Six major pan-European manufacturers have already subscribed to the group, a number Osborn expects to rise to 10 by the time the meeting takes place.

He said the club was established to help mitigate the risk of early market entry by improving access to emerging technologies, as well as evaluating potential solutions to industry challenges in a cost-effective, pre-competitive environment.

In addition, it will be committed to independently evaluating the technology presented, as well as considering its widest potential applications, he added.

"We understand that emerging technology and innovation is very much on trend for the food and beverage industries, but we also recognise that individual companies can find it difficult in terms of time and resources to connect with wider technical developments and academic institutions," said Osborn.

"We are providing them with the opportunity to access this on a neutral, open innovation platform."

Should any of the group members wish to develop a working relationship with any of the technology providers, LFR will independently support any dialogue between the two parties.

Osborn added it would play a major role to identify, scope and propose collaborative feasibility, proof-of-principle and pre-competitive research activity.

Companies interested in participating should email Osborn at intent@leatherheadfood.com