Macphie leads revolutionary ultrasound development

By Dan Colombini

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nutrition

Juicy investment: Macphie will benefit from some of the government's £7M investment package
Juicy investment: Macphie will benefit from some of the government's £7M investment package
Food ingredients firm Macphie is developing a cutting-edge new technology that will use ultrasound to improve the quality and nutritional value of its products.

The firm, which manufactures ingredients for high-street baker Greggs, is heading a consortium of companies to work on the novel process, which has received funding from a £7M government investment pot.

Macphie will work alongside acoustic technology company PCT and bakery equipment manufacturer Mono Bakery to develop the project, which the company says will allow it to “promote healthier products, without compromising taste​”.

The firm remained tight-lipped on the technical specifics of the new process, which is currently at the early stages of development.

A spokesman told Food “It is a great opportunity for Macphie. It is a fiercely competitive market and, at this stage, we don’t want to give anything away to our competitors.​”

World’s first

The firm also confirmed that the technology was the “world’s first​” of its kind and that a patent was currently in the offing.

The £500,000 project is receiving a grant of about £187,000 from the UK government’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB) A further £56,000 of funding is being provided by Scottish Enterprise, according to press reports.

The firms involved in the consortium will also invest in the venture.

Ashley Baker, head of R&D at Macphie, said: “Securing this grant is a reflection of the cutting-edge, innovative and unique nature of the technology that we are developing.

“This is one of a number of exciting upstream collaborative R&D projects that Macphie is currently progressing with universities, with the aim of translating world-leading science into commercial technologies to be made in Scotland.​”

This is just one of a number of R&D projects that have been awarded a share of government funding which seeks to support projects that are new to the sector and that make foods healthier and safer.

Ian Gray, TSB chief executive, said: “Changes in our dietary and lifestyle patterns have seen an increase in diet-related diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and stroke.

Positive impact

“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.​”

More than 50 research projects aimed at developing healthier, safer and more nutritious food will benefit from the £7M plus government investment.

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 £348bn by 2012.

“With the UK market worth £20bn and Scotland’s share of this at £1bn, 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."

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