A Food Innovation Network (FIN) has been launched by the UK Government with the promise that it will give British food and drink companies access to new technologies and expert advice at the “touch of a button”.
Unveiled by Environment Secretary, Andrea Leadsom, during a visit yesterday to the National Agri-Food Innovation Centre in Sand Hutton, York, the new network has been created to give British entrepreneurs “unparalleled access to first-class facilities, such as test kitchens and laboratories to help them launch new food products onto the market”.
Run through an online portal, businesses will be able to access expert advice on complex issues such as intellectual property and developing new technology, supported by a network coordinator who will act as a “matchmaker”, joining up companies with the expertise they need for any aspect of their business.
“Our thriving food and drink sector has already helped make Britain more globally competitive through its incredible innovation,” said the Environment Secretary, adding that the UK’s food and farming sector generates over £100 billion a year and employs one in eight people, making the food manufacturing sector bigger than cars and aerospace combined.
“From extending the shelf life of our food to increasing the amount of Vitamin D in our eggs, FIN will help make the sector as forward-looking as possible and push the boundaries of British food production.”
FIN will be run by the Knowledge Transfer Network under the direction of Defra, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership.