The campus is to be developed and operated by SmartParc on 140 acres of the former Celanese site near Spondon.
It will bring food producers together to cluster knowledge and investment – reducing food waste, lowering carbon outputs and increasing UK food security.
The Government has agreed to provide £12m in funding to help launch the campus, plus £6.85m to establish a nearby manufacturing research centre. This is expected to create 70 jobs, allowing local companies to access expertise to grow their operations in low-carbon and other advanced technologies.
The food campus would include a shared energy plant, designed to reduce energy consumption by 30%, and would harness the latest technology to improve production and efficiency, lowering costs by 20%.
SmartParc said it would embrace the latest scientific developments, such as vertical farming – where crops are grown indoors in stacked layers, mitigating weather issues and eliminating the need for pesticides.
A central distribution facility will allow manufacturers to consolidate both raw materials and finished goods, improving efficiency and lowering food miles.
As well as creating up to 4,500 direct jobs, the project is expected to generate further employment in the supply chain and throughout the local region.
Finished by 2024
Work will start in the first quarter of 2021 and a planned opening, with initial occupancy, will take place later that year. It is expected that the project would be finished by 2024.
“SmartParc is part of a £300m investment to put Derby city and the UK at the heart of the future of sustainable food manufacturing globally,” said SmartParc chief executive Jackie Wild.
“The planned SmartParc campus will combine world-class food production facilities with shared utilities, amenities and services to provide a highly sustainable, low-cost production base for food manufacturers and new ways to reach end customers while reducing food miles and food waste.
Food innovation centre
“It will also act as a community hub, with a new food innovation centre and skills facility and planned partnerships with local charities, schools and universities to reconnect people with the food they eat.”
Derby City Council Leader Chris Poulter said: “Throughout the past four months we have been doing all we can to support existing businesses but also looking at opportunities for the future - to diversify our economy, to improve our environmental credentials and to make Derby a brilliant place to live and work.
“Today’s announcement is a massive boost for those plans and we look forward to working with our partners to deliver these fantastic new projects.”