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New research will help make foods healthier, safer and more nutritious

New research will help make foods healthier, safer and more nutritious

11 Oct 2011

Over fifty research projects and studies aimed at developing healthier, safer and more nutritious food are to share over £7 million of government investment.

The projects and studies will stimulate innovation in the UK’s food and drink sector and lead to the development of new technologies and processes, with an emphasis on healthy and safe food.  Funding for the research and development will be provided by the Technology Strategy Board, with support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC), Defra and Scottish Enterprise.  Including contributions from the participating companies the total value of the R&D exceeds £14.5 million.

Twenty-seven major collaborative R&D projects have been awarded a share of £6.5m government funding.  These projects will aim to develop highly innovative technologies or processes that are novel to the sector and whose application and implementation will be technically challenging.  The projects to be funded include, for example, novel processing methods to retain the nutritional quality of raw fruit and vegetables in processed foods; formulation technologies to enable the reduction of fat and salt in food products; identification and development of functional foods that improve heart health, and strategies to enable the control of Campylobacter in poultry.

In addition, twenty-four small and medium-sized businesses are to receive up to £25,000 each to carry out small-scale technical feasibility studies, which may be taken forward later into larger scale projects.  These studies will be in areas such as, for example, extending the nutritional life of fruit and vegetables; development of novel products to increase satiety (feeling of fullness), and novel methods to identify ingredients which safeguard bone health.

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said:

"Changes in our dietary and lifestyle patterns have seen an increase in diet-related diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and stroke.  These exciting new research projects and studies,    which between them cover the whole food supply chain from agriculture through to retail, have the potential to make a positive impact in the longer term, improving public health and reducing   the burden these diseases place on our health system."

Professor Tim Benton, Global Food Security Champion Designate, said:

"Global food security is not simply about providing people around the world with enough calories to survive, but ensuring that everyone has access to a safe and nutritious diet. By looking at ways of reducing the fat and salt content of some food products and at making processed foods more nutritious these projects could make a valuable contribution to providing people with a balanced healthy diet.”

Maggie McGinlay, director of Scottish Enterprise’s food and drink team, said:

"The global health, nutrition and wellbeing market is expected to be worth around £348 billion by 2012.  With the UK market worth £20 billion and Scotland’s share of this at £1 billion, we're already helping companies to target this emerging sector through our Food and Health Innovation Service. It's great to see that 11 of the 51 projects being announced today are being led by Scottish companies looking to exploit these market opportunities for growth."

 The government funding will support and stimulate innovation in the UK’s food and drink sector, which makes a significant contribution to the nation’s economic wealth.  UK food exports continue to grow in value but to remain competitive requires flexibility, with innovation at the heart of product and production improvements.

The major collaborative research and development projects will be led by: 2 Sisters Food Group Ltd, Aquapharm Biodiscovery Ltd, AvantiCell Science Ltd, Bakkavor Foods Ltd, Bernard Matthews Ltd, Boots UK (2 projects), Cargill, Cawood Scientific Ltd, DelAgua Water Testing Ltd, eminate Ltd, First Frontera Ltd, Frutarom (UK) Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, Macphie of Glenbervie Ltd, Matrix MicroScience Ltd, Micromass UK Ltd, Monsanto UK Ltd, PepsiCo (2 projects), Provexis plc, Randox Laboratories Ltd, TasteTech Ltd, Unilever plc (2 projects), Wm Wrigley Jnr Company.

The Technology Strategy Board, EPSRC, BBSRC, MRC, Defra and the Scottish Government also contribute to the Global Food Security programme, a multi-partner programme that brings together the food security-related research interests of research councils, government departments and executive agencies to meet the challenge of supplying enough safe, nutritious and affordable food in a sustainable way for a growing global population.

For full press release, including notes to editors, please follow this link.

 

Last updated on Thursday 13 October 2011 at 16:39

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