Research – with industry, for industry
In today´s fast-moving world, no one can afford to stand still. Our extensive programme of industrially relevant research and innovation helps ensure that we retain the cutting–edge skills, facilities, knowledge and expertise to solve your problems and support your business’s development.
The core of our programme of research is funded by members, who are heavily involved in steering the projects and early discussion of results. The emphasis is on practical outcomes and industrial relevance. The research programme is organised into six strategic themes and a complete list of the active projects is published in our annual Research Programme. Here are a few examples of ongoing projects in three of these areas.
Food and drink safety
In addition to the control of viruses, we are actively looking at new analytical methods for ensuring chemical and microbiological safety of food and drink. The inbuilt flexibility within the project allows us to provide timely responses to emerging issues as they occur. We are also looking at non–targeted screening methods, in a separate project, to help members in continued surveillance of ingredients and raw materials in order to ensure authenticity and detect fraud incidents at an early stage.
The control of contaminants in staple foods is especially important given their major contribution to the human diet. We have a project that is helping industry to understand where chemical contaminants originate from and the route by which they contaminate food products during primary production.
Quality and value
We have a wide range of projects under this banner. As well as our long–standing ‘novel and emerging technologies’ projects, we are looking at superchilling to extend product shelf–life, on–line technologies for food process control, and ‘forcing’ as an accelerated approach to determine product shelf–life.
Product characterisation is particularly important when it comes to assessing quality and value. When developing new products, it is traditional to use trained sensory panels to evaluate product characteristics, but the approach is expensive.
Consumers are also used to screen concepts and assess products for liking and preference. We are evaluating and validating the many new consumer and sensory methods available in order to provide information on which ones can be used or adapted and integrated for product development work.
Nutrition and well–being
Diet–related issues are particularly high on the agenda at the moment. Our activity in this area includes a project assessing the issues with designing food and drinks for different life stages – particularly the elderly – to enable them to maintain a healthy diet. We are also looking into the manipulation of food structure and protein content to produce satiating, energy–reduced foods and beverages, and at how packaging can be used to enhance people’s enjoyment of ‘healthy’ products.
See our full list of MFR research projects