Crisp firm research opens up new export markets

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Agarwal developed a new vegetarian-flavoured crisp, opening up exports
Agarwal developed a new vegetarian-flavoured crisp, opening up exports

Related tags Food xport conference

Pipers Crisps has gained a better understanding of the science behind its snack products and processes, enabling it to develop longer shelf-life products and open up new export markets, thanks to a collaboration with food experts at the University of Nottingham.

In a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project, supported by Innovate UK, Pipers worked with the food flavour and sensory science laboratories within the School of Biosciences at Nottingham, specifically former PhD student, now Dr Deepa Agarwal – an expert in food structure, flavour and product development – with the help of academic adviser Dr Ian Fisk, an expert in food chemistry.

Over the past two years this collaboration has not only helped to enhance the quality of Pipers’ crisps but staff from across the company have been taught new skills and are now directly involved in the process of product development.

Enhance the quality of Pipers’ crisps

Agarwal divided her time between the Pipers’ factory at Brigg in Lincolnshire and the University’s Sutton Bonington Campus in Nottinghamshire.

She used gas chromatography mass spectroscopy to understand the flavour profile and stability of Pipers’ crisps. With the help of statistical analysis tools, Agarwal optimised cooking temperatures and times to minimise waste, and enhanced shelf-life without compromising taste perception.

Back at the factory, she spent 12 months drawing up a detailed training and selection programme to establish a team of specialist ‘tasters’.

Food Xport Conference

The new Food Xport Conference​ will take place on Thursday October 5 at Ardencote Manor, Warwickshire. See the box below for more details.

Support product development

This team – drawn from across the company – will continue to use their new-found tools to support product development and support day-to-day quality control.

When the company looked for a new flavour, it turned to Agarwal to carry out market research and test and develop the flavour formulation provided by existing suppliers.

Working with a flavour house, the result was a new vegetarian-flavoured crisp – wild thyme and rosemary. She was also able to suggest changes to the production process to increase in shelf-life from 28 to 40 weeks, opening up new export markets.

Food Xport Conference aims to boost exports

Boosting food and drink exports is the aim of the new Food Xport Conference on Thursday October 5 at Ardencote Manor, Warwickshire. The one-day conference will arm delegates with latest advice needed to unlock the potential of global export markets. The day comprises four sessions covering: Identifying your potential for growth, How to organise your UK business to drive exports, World Trade Organisation Rules and What can be learned from food and drink manufacturers trading profitably overseas. Confirmed speakers include: Ed Wright, export director, Cranswick and Richard Clothier, md Wyke Farms. Book your place here​.

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