Food Manufacturing is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK employing more than 400000 people and supporting nearly 3 million further jobs across the whole supply chain and directly contributing £28bn in GVA to the UK economy.
Physics is critically important to supporting the Food Manufacturing Sector in addressing the challenges it faces which including health and nutrition concerns, minimising waste and environmental impact, improving food security, responding to population growth and globalisation and improving productivity and developing and manufacturing successful products. A multidisciplinary approach is vital to solving these problems and physics has a crucial role to play.
In 2016-17 the Institute of Physics and partners (PepsiCo, Unilever, Sheffield Hallam University, Jacob Douwe Egberts, KTN and EPSRC) ran a successful Open Innovation programme in Physics in Food Manufacturing. This programme has engaged a large number of physicists, attracting over 100 physicists from industry and academia. The Institute of Physics Report; "The Health of Physics in UK Food Manufacturing" was launched in October 2016 and describes the vital role physics plays in the food manufacturing industry and how it can be harnessed to make the sector world-leading.
The Physics in Food Manufacturing Group has been formed to provide a link between physics working in food manufacture in industry and academia and between sub-disciplines: stimulating research, raising the profile of the role of physics in this sector and providing a mechanism to represent the views of physicists in this sector to policy makers.