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Innovative businesses invited to seize opportunities in Kent to meet global demand for UK food innovation and sustainability

Innovative businesses invited to seize opportunities in Kent to meet global demand for UK food innovation and sustainability

Locate in Kent and Growing Kent & Medway will be joining forces later this month to showcase opportunities in the county for innovative businesses seeking the right location to join the alternative plant-based food revolution sweeping the UK.


Sales of meat and dairy substitute products are estimated to grow by £6.8 billion globally by 2025, with sales of vegan foods in the UK growing faster than any country in the world.  In Kent, which already contributes some £2.6 billion annually to the UK food and drink sector, a growing cluster is emerging to meet the increased appetite for healthier choices, plant-based products and more personalised nutrition.  


This will form the basis of a one-hour webinar panel discussion taking place from 4pm (UK Time) on Wednesday, 20 July 2022.


The session will offer valuable insights and discussion on how businesses can make the most of the huge opportunity for innovation and growth in the nutritional foods sector, including:  

  • Current trends and opportunities for market growth
  • How new facilities and pilot equipment are helping Kent businesses grow
  • Overcoming challenges with product research and food safety.
  • Business support and grants available to help within Kent


Simon Ryan, Investment Director for Locate in Kent said: “The UK market for alternative proteins is one of a number of exciting opportunities for businesses in Kent. We’re seeing an increased number of enquiries from a range of domestic and overseas businesses – from food production to product developers.


“Kent is well placed for companies looking to meet the UK consumer’s growing appetite for plant-based products and development of innovative and value-added foods as well as in packaging, distribution, and the broader supply chain.”


Dr Parag Acharya is leading Growing Kent & Medway’s work to develop a UK flagship centre of excellence for alternative protein development in the Kent and Medway region, linking academia with industry across all stages of new product development from R&D to market launch. He will be among the panel of experts taking part in the webinar.


“One of the advantages for Kent in terms of the UK food market is its strategic location, close to London and to Europe. Kent, often called the Garden of England, is famous for its fresh produce,” Dr Acharya said.


“There is huge traction on the production side with the focus now on driving more business growth in processing and product development and other areas such as the supply chain where there may be opportunity for circular economy by re-utilising food waste.


“We now also have the Medway Food Innovation Centre where we are trying to bridge the gap between research and applications as well as building a start-up community primarily for work around alternative protein-based food innovation.”


“At Growing Kent & Medway we are establishing ourselves as the lead co-ordinator to develop the UK innovation ecosystem for alternative protein. That is a real opportunity for Kent.”


To register for the one-hour webinar ‘Bringing Nutrition to the Table. Can you meet the UK demand? Researching and developing nutritional foods in Kent’ visit: https://www.locateinkent.com/webinar-series/


Confirmed speakers for the webinar, include:

Dr Nazanin Zand, Associate Professor in Food and Nutrition and Science and Portfolio Lead for Enterprise within the faculty of Engineering and Science at the University of Greenwich. She is also the Programme Leader for the MSc in Food Innovation, attracting significant input from a range of major food companies.


Dr Parag Acharya is a senior fellow in Food Innovation at the University of Greenwich and Innovation Growth Manager for the Growing Kent & Medway Cluster. He joined the university’s Natural Resources Institute (NRI) in 2020. He has contributed to six research grants during 2021-2022 to enable new insights on the alternative protein and resilient food supply chain.

Dr Alessia Buscaino is a Senior Lecturer at University of Kent. Part of the Kent Fungal Group, her work oversees fungal research and industrial biotechnology, including fermentation, synthetic biology, cell-culture and protein production. The group collaborates with a wide range of brands, including Wye Vale Hops, Provenance Potatoes and Shepherd Neame.


Nimisha Raja is the founder and CEO of Nim’s Crisps, an award-winning healthy snacks firm based in Kent enjoying international success. Nim’s is the UK’s only manufacturer of 100% natural air-dried fruit and vegetable crisps.



For media enquiries please contact Lee Winter at Pillory Barn. Call: 0798 4813911 or email: [email protected]


About Locate in Kent

  • Locate in Kent is funded and supported by Kent County Council, Medway Council, local councils, the Kent Developers Group, Kent Housing and Development Group and partners from the private sector to promote Kent and Medway as a prime location for business and support the creation of new jobs.  Locate in Kent provides free, confidential support to employers setting up, expanding or relocating. Locate in Kent is a first point of call for any international enterprise coming to the UK.  
  • European Regional Development Fund – £1,751,891 of funding has been received from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding

Business support


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