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New research Centre set to boost food and drink innovation in Kent

New research Centre set to boost food and drink innovation in Kent

A new cutting-edge research centre was officially opened at the Natural Resources Institute (NRI), at the University of Greenwich, as part of Growing Kent & Medway’s investment in food and drink innovation, on Tuesday 24 January 2023. 

The Medway Food Innovation Centre provides businesses with access to state-of-the-art processing facilities, some of which are unique to the UK. The equipment includes a 3D food printer, vacuum freeze dryer and spray dryer. The Centre will help businesses develop new food products, analyse flavour and textures, and look at healthier product formulas.

Rehman Chishti, MP for Gillingham and Rainham, Cllr Jan Aldous, The Worshipful The Mayor of Medway, Professor Jane Harrington, Vice Chancellor of the University of Greenwich and Mario Caccamo, CEO of NIAB officially opened the Centre on Tuesday 24 January 2023.

Mario Caccamo, CEO of NIAB, who initiated the Growing Kent & Medway project, said: “Our mission is to make Kent and Medway the centre of innovation in food. What is exciting is we are bringing equipment that would normally be inaccessible to companies and we are making it accessible to them, here.”

Rehman Chishti MP said, “We’re looking at future health inequalities, we’re looking at food production and how we now bring forward those new and fresh ideas to be able to deliver, with regard to the issues of the day. Food security is massive, and we have a centre here which deals with the innovation of food production, working with the local authorities and stakeholders. I’m delighted to be here to see this cutting-edge technology by local academics and scientists at Greenwich University.”

The research and innovation focus areas of the Centre are:
• Alternative protein-based food
• Novel food processing
• Flavour, texture, and sensory research
• Food safety and nutrition
• Fresh produce storage and sustainable packaging

With a £1.7 million investment, the facility is aiming to support 80 businesses and take 20 new products to market between now and 2025.

Showcasing their innovative food products at the launch, were two businesses taking part in our Food Accelerator programme. Guests were able to sample Pretty Pink Potato’s vegan meringue and Zambur Ferments’ kimchi and kombucha.

Jan Aldous the Mayor of Medway said after trying a vegan meringue“Normally it’s made of egg protein but the producer has made it with potato.

"The new centre is looking at all the different ways to make our food healthier and more interesting. It’s a thing of the future and it’s wonderful to have it here in Medway.”

Mayor of Medway tastes vegan meringue created by Aleta Viljoen at Pink Potato

The Medway Food Innovation Centre is based at the University of Greenwich’s Medway campus in Chatham. It was part funded by Growing Kent & Medway, through UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund.