£1.4 m investment boost for county's food research centre
CAMPDEN BRI, the Gloucestershire- based food and drink research organisation, is investing £1.4 million in new cutting edge processing and analytical equipment as the business expands globally.
The membership group, which provides technical support to the global food and drink industry, has seen its revenue increase by 17 per cent over the past two years.
With food safety and healthy eating now a major priority, more and more companies are using the services of the Chipping Campden based group.
As a result of the increased business, the 360 strong workforce have each benefited from bonuses of £1,350 and pay increases of more than eight per cent over two years.
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The £1.4 million investment is in addition to a new £300,000 facility to streamline the process of receiving samples from food and drink clients for testing and pilot processing.
It includes the latest mass spectrometry systems for analysing potential contaminants in food stuffs and a high speed analyser for assessing the shape and size of particles in food and drink – an important aspect for improving and ensuring product quality.
During 2012 the membership-based organisation recruited 131 new member companies and now has members in 74 countries worldwide – the highest in its history. Turnover last year was over £21 million.
Each year it attracts around 10,000 business visitors to Chipping Campden contributing significantly to the local economy – with many coming to its purpose-built training and conference facilities to tap into its expertise.
The firm counts the major retailers and many household names among its members, as well as government agencies and departments, and major technical and research centres.
Steven Walker, the director general of Campden BRI, said yesterday: "Our latest significant investment in equipment is testament to our continued commitment to providing the food and drink industry with the very latest research, technical and advisory services needed to ensure product safety and quality, process efficiency and product and process innovation.
"This year is going to be a landmark year for the food and drink industry as it faces some weighty issues that need to be addressed in the coming 12 months – such as the need to meet consumer health concerns by controlling calories and reducing sugar and saturated fat levels.
"It also needs to address environmental concerns and deal with sustainability issues, particularly in relation to controlling water usage and water conservation."
Campden BRI's members recently voted for nine new research projects for 2013 funded from a total available pot of £2 million which will include a study to investigate sweeteners and fat replacers to reduce calories and another to investigate sustainable water supply.
"The food and drink industry faces a myriad of challenges in the coming years," said Mr Walker.
"We are actively investing to ensure that Campden BRI has the skills and facilities to partner with clients to meet their ever changing needs."