MTC aims to add bite to food and drink sector

MTC aims to add bite to food and drink sector

Date: Tuesday 19 December 2017

News MTC aims to add bite to food and drink sector

The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) has joined the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) as it looks to spearhead technology adoption in the sector.

Joining the FDF will give the MTC a firm foothold in the industry and the opportunity to assist with the challenges it faces introducing technology into a sector heavily reliant on manual labour.

The food and drink sector is vital to the UK economy which was substantiated in the government's recently-launched Industrial Strategy white paper, which announced the establishment of a Food and Drink Sector Council.

The creation of the Sector Council recognises the importance of the many sub-sectors that make up the nation's £112 billion 'farm to fork' food chain and employ almost four million people.

This is backed up by the Made Smarter Industrial Digitalisation Review conducted by Juergen Maier, which estimated that the food and drink industry could add an additional £55bn to the economy over the next decade through improved digitalisation alone.

Matt Rayment, who heads up food and drink in the MTC’s emerging markets, stated the sector is ripe for a technological revolution and joining the FDF was the right option for the MTC.

“This professional affiliation gives us greater credibility within the industry and offers us an opportunity to engage with food and drink businesses,” he said.

“The sector is aware it needs to enhance its productivity and embrace technology, which was a key message at the recent Appetite for Engineering conference at the MTC.

“We have worked with the FDF already, supporting their 2017 Convention and assisting with the creation of their industry white paper. Becoming a member was the next logical step as they’re our ‘go-to’ group when it comes to the food and drink sector.”

Rayment added that there were issues within the industry that the MTC could help it solve.

“Assisting the sector is part of a wider strategy within the High Value Manufacturing Catapult,” he said.

“There is a need to embrace and engage in Industry 4.0 and bring in technology that will improve food science, food production and also deal with the issue of food waste, which is high on the political agenda

“We’re already working with the likes of Sainsbury’s, Unilever, Greencore and Crown along with technology experts like Siemens and Beckhoff. The aim for us is to bring their expertise and ours to the table.”

The MTC is an unparalleled environment for a young engineer wishing to break into the industry. The work that we are doing here today will shape the manufacturing industry for years to come. To be part of that is not only exciting but a real privilege.
Dr Clive Hickman
Chief Executive, MTC