2 October 2015

  |  CBI Updates Team

News

Support for a start-up - Cardiff Metropolitan University's Food Industry Centre

Cardiff Metropolitan University's Zero2Five Food Industry Centre has helped a local start-up to succeed and grow.

Support for a start-up - Cardiff Metropolitan University's Food Industry Centre

One of a series of case studies of successful business-university collaboration

Mike Woods, the Managing Director of Just Love Foods, originally approached the University to discuss a concept idea in the bakery sector.  In a previous role as managing director of a major bakery site, Mike had identified a market opportunity to develop a nut free celebration cake, primarily for children’s parties.  As the parent of children with a nut allergy Mike had personal experience of the individual consumer’s dilemma and professional experience of the solution.

The missing piece of the jigsaw was that Mike didn’t have a product.  Faced with the technical complications of having to produce a retailer standard product from a significantly reduced raw material base (due to limited sources of approved ‘nut free’ ingredients), Mike approached the University.

The baking scientist at the University’s Zero2Five Food Industry Centre rapidly developed a suitable product using the raw materials provided and undertook consumer evaluation of the product in the University’s sensory evaluation suite.  Faced with further retailer demands of an extended shelf life and a ‘clean’ label, the team undertook the reformulation project.

Three years later the company employs nearly 50 people on the site of an old colliery.  Its position in an area of historically high unemployment has helped in the regeneration of this area of the South Wales valleys.

Watch this video to learn more

Mike Woods, Managing Director of Just Love Foods, has commented:

“We started with 11 people working here in this factory and as of this week we now have 47, which is fantastic.  We think it is a nice success story and without the support from the very beginning from Cardiff Metropolitan University’s Food Industry Centre none of that would have been possible.”

The flexibility of the programme, developed by Cardiff Metropolitan University, was essential to meet rapidly evolving challenges faced by burgeoning companies.  The University’s knowledge exchange programme (KITE) has received accolades and awards from both government and the private sector.  The programme has delivered 100 food-related knowledge exchange projects across a wide range of food categories.  Impacts are measurable in terms of millions of pounds of increased sales and the creation of hundreds of manufacturing jobs.

 

 

Cardiff Metropolitan University would like to pay tribute to the work of expert baker Ray Newberry, who was the Head of the Department of Healthcare and Food at the time of writing, but since the production of this case study has sadly passed away.