Editor's view

Leatherhead Research is picked up for £1.6M

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Rick Pendrous, editor, Food Manufacture
Rick Pendrous, editor, Food Manufacture

Related tags Leatherhead food research Scientific method science

Speculation that began circulating over the past month that Leatherhead Food Research (LFR)was in financial difficulties and had entered administration was proved correct when an announcement was made that the organisation had been acquired by the Science Group for £1.6M.

In future, the business will trade as Leatherhead Research Ltd and will continue to provide technical consultancy services, including scientific research, regulatory advice, market insights, and testing services to food and drink firms.

Following the announcement, the group’s chief executive Dr Geoff Spriegel admitted that the past year and a half had been “challenging for the business”,​ made more difficult by the Leatherhead’s pension deficit. The hope is that now with the financial and technical backing of the Science Group, its future will be more secure.

Difficult decade

Founded in 1919, Leatherhead Food Research has developed a worldwide reputation for its expertise in regulatory consultancy, product development, consumer research, nutrition science, food safety, information services and training. But life over the past decade has been quite difficult for LFR, which derives a large part of its income from member company research projects.

While LFR, which changed its trading name from Leatherhead Food International several years’ back, had tried to differentiate itself from the much larger food research group Campden BRI, the squeeze on government and private sector research spending in recent years has also taken its toll.

Given the excellent work that Leatherhead has carried over many years, let’s hope Science Group will ensure it is around to celebrate its centenary in 2019.

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