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Fresh-Pak partners with University of Leicester to usher innovation in production process

Published 07 January 2016

UK-based food manufacturer Fresh-Pak Chilled Foods has entered into a strategic alliance with the scientists at the University of Leicester to usher in innovation and academic expertise into its production process to help augment its quality and yield.

Fresh-Pak

The university's Department of Chemistry scientists will provide academic consultation, student projects and a two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) in the region worth £200,000 throughout the duration of the project.

Fresh-Pak will also have an Analytical Chemist recruited in its team. The partnership also entails that the Analytical Chemist would be mentored by an academician and will have access to the specialist expertise and facilities available at the University of Leicester. The position will be filled by the end of January.

Professor Andy Abbot and Dr Alex Goddard from the Department of Chemistry will be the lead providers of academic insights and will be supported by Professor Jeremy Levesley from the Department of Mathematics.

Fresh-Pak supplies food products to supermarkets, food providers, and business-to-business clients. The company also claims to be one of the largest producers of boiled eggs. Chilled sandwich fillers & accompaniments are among the products that are manufactured at the site.

The company expects to bring innovation in its production processes in the next five years and aims to develop new ways of working to enhance productivity and quality. The alliance with the university was sought to strengthen the scientific foundation focusing on the application of materials science and chemistry.

The partnership aims to bolster Fresh-Pak's existing credentials in food technology while injecting science as the base of every operation. The collaboration intends to reinvent the way food is processed at the company, resulting in improved production and quality, the company claimed.

With improved operational efficiencies, the company hopes to come up with sustainable food production methods that ensure minimal waste and support recycling techniques.

University of Leicester Department of Chemistry professor Andy Abbott said: "The benefit to the University of collaborating with Fresh-Pak will be in demonstrating the impact of excellent academic research on a market sector (food processing). In addition, the new knowledge and best practice gained as result of the collaboration will feed back into the University in terms of teaching, new research themes and publication."

Fresh-Pak managing director Keith Foreman said: "We are delighted to partner with the University of Leicester as innovation forms one of the major strategic elements of our company's growth strategy. We already have great relationships with our customers and provide category leadership in the areas in which we operate and we see this as a further way of strengthening our position.

"In today's highly competitive landscape we firmly believe that companies who innovate and constantly challenge all aspects of their operation will succeed and the creation of a new Centre of Excellence will be instrumental in this."


Image: Left to Right: Dr Alex Goddard of University of Leicester's Department of Chemistry, students Phillip Ming Fung and Julie
Ho,and Katie Wybrant, a process technologist at Fresh-Pak Chilled Foods. Photo: Courtesy of University of Leicester Press Office
.