Research boost

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Sheffield hallam university New product development Business development manager Sheffield

1.2M cash to aid Yorkshire food projects

Sheffield Hallam University has won £1.2M of government cash to boost innovation in the Yorkshire and Humberside food manufacturing sector.

The money, which was awarded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, will fund collaborations over the next 18 months in four key areas: innovative new product development; health and wellbeing; supply chain; and waste reduction.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to do something truly multi-disciplinary," said David Johnson, business development manager for the university's Food Innovation & Research Centre (FIRC). "It utilises the expertise of people in the FIRC, the biomedical research centre, the health and wellbeing faculty, the psychology and design departments, and the materials and engineering research institute."

The university would be working with companies of fewer than 50 staff on a number of pilot programmes covering systems, ingredients, recipes, process quality, packaging, employee skills and development, re-branding and marketing, said Johnson.

"This project has the potential to change the face of the food and drink sector, not only in the region but also nationally. It is the first multi-disciplinary in-depth review in the food and drink industry."

Key areas of opportunity included developing new foods for the elderly, functional starches, extracting high value ingredients from food waste, new methods of protecting bioactive ingredients during food processing, and examining new ways to reduce the amount of cooking and chilling in ready meals manufacture.

"We're not interested in duplicating work that other universities or research institutions are doing. We've worked closely with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Yorkshire Forward and the major supermarkets so that we're doing something genuinely different."

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