Food manufacturers benefit from Made Smarter digital technology programme

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

The new funding will help more food manufacturers
The new funding will help more food manufacturers

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The Made Smarter programme, that has backed 2,500 manufacturers to adopt new digital technology and skills to create growth and jobs, has secured £6.1m funding to continue for three more years.

Made Smarter’s adoption programme in the North West has helped small and medium-sized companies by providing them with specialist advice and a digital roadmap to help them select the right approach, level of investment and tools for their business.

More than 250 of them, including dozens in the food and drink sector, have invested in new technology, ranging from software and sensors to robotics and extended reality, to become more efficient, build resilience, increase their productivity and grow sustainably.


These include businesses such as: Friars, a chocolatier based in Keswick; Nutree Life, a manufacturer of vegan and free-from protein bars, based in Burscough; and Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses, based in Preston.

Made Smarter said that this initiative is set to create 1,250 new jobs, upskill up to 2,300 existing roles and deliver an additional £176m in gross value added to the region.

There has also been a national roll out of the Made Smarter adoption programme, which now includes the West of England and East Midlands. These regions  join the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the West Midlands regions.

'Extraordinary impact'

Alain Dilworth, programme nanager for the Made Smarter Adoption Programme in the North West, said: “I am delighted that the Government has recognised the extraordinary impact that Made Smarter’s adoption programme is having on digitalisation of SME businesses and the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies in the North West whilst continuing to fund our work for the next three years. 

“While UK manufacturing navigated the pandemic and is working towards recovery, it is also bracing for further challenging times and economic bumps in the road ahead. Our rallying call to manufacturers is that digital technologies offer businesses opportunities to build resilience, innovate and transform. Digital tools can help manufacturers make marginal savings, set themselves apart from competitors in a volatile time, and make products quicker, affordable and more efficiently.”


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