Food preservation challenge

Main Content

A Scottish food manufacturing company is looking for a novel approach to food preservation. The ideal solution would be for a natural additive to be included in its liquid food products, or a novel process which would offer increased shelf life. 

What’s the challenge?  

The company manufactures chilled and frozen products containing dairy components, some of which can have a relatively short shelf life. 

As a minimum, the company would be looking to increase the shelf life of its products by 33% - but ideally this would be 50% upwards.

Do you have the solution?  

For ingredients: The company is looking at a natural preservative or process change to maximise effective shelf life extension without any change to the taste, texture, flavour, odour or colour of its products.

Ideally any additive would already be within the human food chain, and comply with all current food-related legislation, it would not be genetically modified.

In terms of process, the changes would have the minimum impact both financially and in production dynamics. Any capex associated with this would have to be justifiable within 3 years of installation. 

For clarity, any additional equipment would have to be compact due to the minimal available space.

Evaluation criteria

Technical viability – Proposed solutions must be based on sound technical and scientific principles, and have been tested at pilot scale to demonstrate efficacy. Any associated equipment must be food grade and comply with the company's “new equipment” standards

Scale-up potential – Any proposed solutions must have a clear direction of travel that can be commercialised and realised in final products that can be sold safely into the human consumer markets. 

The ideal partner would have expertise in food chemistry or technology. However other disciplines such as a pharmaceuticals, brewing and distilling would also be considered, and would lead the initial proving of the solution to a minimum pilot stage within the company's food systems.

Costs – All solutions would have to provide a reasonable return on investment. For ingredients, the operational gains would have to greatly outweigh any potential ingredient costs and for capex this would have to be paid back in less than three years after going live.

Production – Any solution should not impact on the current processes, and there should be no perceivable change in the characteristics of the product as outlined in the above section ("Do you have the solution?")

Ownership – Any solutions that are covered by existing patents, or that could be co-patented in the future would have higher value - but as a minimum, any solutions must not be prohibited by any other known patents in the field.

Intellectual property requirements – None required when using existing solutions. The company would consider that any of its IP to be background at the start of the project, and therefore already proprietary. Where the company takes a proposed solution or technology and creates a bespoke solution would be when IP may be sought.

Show stoppers – Solutions will not be considered if, in the company's opinion:

  • Installation or maintenance costs were prohibitive
  • Proposals lack sufficient pilot scale data
  • Not food safe
  • Are genetically modified
  • Contravene any current Food Legislation or existing / pending patents

Success criteria – Solutions would be successful if they generate:

  • An increased shelf life of our chilled products by a minimum of 33% but ideally 50% plus
  • Reduced finished product costs
  • No perceivable change to the finished product attributes
  • Food grade and food safe

This challenge is open for responses until 29 January 2018.  

Please include the below information in your application:  

  • Your detailed technical solution to the challenge 
  • Any proof of concept data 
  • Peer reviews for reference   
  • Your experience in the food arena   
  • Estimated unit costs   
  • Estimated timescales to deliver into the market  

Apply for this challenge