Raw material services
With the world focusing on the sustainability of food provision, the need to optimise primary production and raw material supply has never been greater. Whether it be the debate over the merit of organic systems and integrated crop management, or the desire to tailor crops for specific end-points, we have a wealth of expertise in agricultural issues to help the food industry. Richard Stanley, who has nearly 30 years'experience in our Agriculture Department, explains:
"We have been involved with trials assessing the suitability of fruit and vegetable varieties for different endpurposes (such as fresh, canning and freezing) for many decades, and also have a well-established protocol for assessing pesticide efficacy, including the absence of taint in the harvested material. More recently we have been looking at how different growing regimes (such as fertiliser application, irrigation, and post-harvest storage) affect the level of key micronutrients in specific products - such as falcarinol in carrots. In particular, there has been much interest in general in increasing the antioxidant capacity of different fruits and vegetables by optimising agricultural inputs. And, of course, we can adapt our knowledge and experience to almost any situation. We can advise on what quality (such as flavour, texture and nutrition) characteristics might be achievable in your harvested raw material, and on how you might achieve these characteristics - and then carry out trials in a scientific and structured way to assess which factors have the greatest effect on product quality."
As well as specific quality and processing characteristics, we can also give practical advice on maximising product yield, and in managing microbiological, chemical and physical hazards during production and postharvest. We also provide an advisory service on the latest pesticide legislation, including what can and can´t be used, and maximum residue levels.