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Mapping current innovation and emerging R&D needs in the food and drink industry required for sustainable economic growth - FO0119

One of the greatest technological challenges facing the world today is to find ways of increasing food production whilst simultaneously reducing environmental impact. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) recognises this as a key priority in its 2012-2015 Business Plan. However, understanding of current activity in the UK post farm gate food and drink industry is poor.
Defra has therefore commissioned work to obtain a better understanding of:
• Current industry activity in technological innovation which supports competitiveness and resource efficiency
• Identification of drivers, challenges, barriers and gaps to achieving sustainable production
• Key R&D targets which will have the greatest impact on supporting economic growth whilst reducing environmental impact
• Emerging opportunities in science and innovation and examples of “green” food manufacturing excellence from outside the UK

This study, “Mapping current innovation and emerging R&D needs in the food and drink industry required for sustainable economic growth” aims to deliver this improved understanding. Through engagement with with key stakeholders, review of existing evidence and a horizon scanning exercise with leading experts in science and innovation, the study will deliver a concise and relevant view of the technological situation today and opportunities for tomorrow. The study will set out key R&D needs for the UK for Government and industry alike to focus their efforts on making the necessary step change towards excellence in sustainable food production in the post farm gate food and drink industry.
The objectives of this study, to be delivered in the following sequence are to:

I. Deliver a comprehensive review of the current technological innovation activity in the UK food and drink post farm gate value chain which supports competitiveness and resource efficiency

II. Identify drivers, challenges and barriers to innovation, building on what is already known to help develop a better understanding of sustainable production in food and drink industry

III. Identify opportunities for the application of emerging science and innovation, including suitable advances which may be being pioneered outside of this industry or internationally. This could take the form of specific research project briefs tackling key R&D targets in order to solicit appropriate interest from industry and academia with government support

IV. Identify examples of green food manufacturing excellence outside the UK which complements our national research base and is relevant to these challenges

V. Define and rank key targets for research and development (R&D) that will have the greatest impact on supporting economic growth while reducing environmental impact

The scope of this study is the UK food and drink value chain from post farm gate through to reuse/recycle or landfill; the interactions between each step, and the interface between farm and post-farm gate. The study will look at technological innovation and R&D activity across industry (i.e. large companies and SMEs) in the UK, initially at a high level, then in detail across 5-6 sectors of the value chain. The scope also includes identification of clusters of excellence in green food manufacturing in the European Union and internationally. Whilst we will identify and document R&D needs, the scope does not include writing full research project plans.

We have assumed in scoping our approach and budget that Defra is able to provide meeting room facilities for Steering Group and working group meetings. A significant amount of the information for this project will be collected via a large scale survey (see below) and through a literature review. We will aim to keep travel and subsistence costs for face to face meetings as low as possible for efficiency and budgetary reasons and we assume that our costs in this regard do not cover those incurred by consultees or Defra staff. Survey results will be gathered on a best efforts basis.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : 024rep AD Little post-farm gate report FINAL   (1306k)
• ANX - Annex : 021rep AD Little post-farm gate draft report appendices   (2902k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2012

To: 2013

Cost: £67,215
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Arthur D. Little Limited
Food Industry Sustainability Strategy              
Food manufacturing industry