From 2013, instead of projects being selected by small expert committees convened by LFR, the wider food and drink community within the food research organisation’s membership is being canvassed for its views for topical research projects.
As well as engaging more with LFR members and other stakeholders, said LFR chief executive Dr Paul Berryman, the plan is to establish key scientific themes suggested by stakeholders, within LFR’s four platforms of nutrition, food safety, innovation and sensory science.
Under the new approach, around £150,000 will be invested in each platform, said Berryman. Also, £250,000 will be available for more complex “cross-platform” project work, under which the successful projects will be chosen through a competitive process, he added.
“Responding to industry’s needs, it will be applied research for industry, not blue skies research,” said Berryman. Rather than relying on committees as it has done in the past, LFR will also seek the views of a wider range of specialist advisers, he added.
“We will identify the most exciting projects and the best way of moving forward and involving a lot more people,” he said. ”We are moving away from a committee-type structure to have a wider engagement with our members.”
Later this year under a new joint venture with market research firm Mintel, LFR will also be publishing a new study on food colourings, reported Berryman.
LFR also plans to introduce a new initiative, called FoodLaunch, designed to help small- and medium-sized companies in Europe and the US ease the process of getting their ideas to market – from new product development to food launch.
“We can get to market much quicker than through a step-wise process,” said LFR’s head of sensory, consumer and market intelligence, Cindy Beeren, announcing the new initiative at LFR’s recent sensory conference.
In a separate initiative, LFR is also installing a new pathogen pilot plant later this year for food safety process validation.
The plant will be used to investigate “microbial death kinetics”, which manufacturers would find difficult to carry out in a commercial food production environment, said Berryman.
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