Showcase the region’s food science to attract investment
An ambitious proposal to strengthen Norfolk and Suffolk as a global center of excellence for plant science with a focus on nutritious foods has been supported by the Department of International Trade.
The plan, led by the Norfolk & Suffolk Unlimited inbound investment team of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, Norwich Research Park and other local partners, aims to attract companies to use the globally recognized phytosanitary expertise of the region to develop nutritious food products.
The High Potential Opportunities (HPO) program of the Department for International Trade (DIT) selects targeted investment opportunities to promote internationally.
Now this new HPO for Norfolk and Suffolk will be promoted by DIT’s global network, showcasing opportunities internationally and promoting projects to investors.
Dr Jonathan Clarke, Business Development Manager at the John Innes Center, praised the designation: “HPO status is important because it promotes the strength of our region internationally. In Norfolk and Suffolk our strength is AgriTech, Food and Health. The John Innes Center and our partners at Norwich Research Park have a big role to play in this regard. “
There is a growing global demand for more nutritious food products that improve physical and cognitive health. This is driven by governments, consumers and businesses looking for solutions to tackle a range of health issues associated with healthy lifestyle choices and aging (eg obesity, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, osteoporosis and dementia). The link between general health, age, diet and vulnerability to COVID-19 has further highlighted this.
One product currently in development by researchers at the John Innes Center is genetically modified (GM) wheat that provides a two-fold increase in iron in hand-ground white flour. Work is underway to produce a non-GM equivalent.
Iron deficiency anemia is a significant global health problem, particularly among women, and with an economic cost linked to annual physical productivity losses of $ 2.32 per capita, or 0.57% of gross domestic product (GDP) in low- and middle-income countries. A diet rich in products such as bread and pasta made from this biofortified white wheat flour could provide a high daily dose of dietary iron eliminating the need for supplements.
At the heart of the HPO is Norwich Research Park, Europe’s largest research, training, education and business center focused on plant science, food and health. The Park’s 3,000 researchers and clinicians and around 150 scientific and technological companies focus on all the technical activities required to research, develop, market, test and market new scientific products.
David Dukes, Head of Foreign Investments at New Anglia LEP, said: “The HPO process will help raise the profile of our region on the international stage.
“Our scientists are among the most cited in the world and that helps attract the brightest new talent. This HPO will help focus on commercializing this expertise and using it to attract new business investment. “
“Norfolk and Suffolk are home to 1,000 food and beverage manufacturing companies employing over 35,000 people. It is the ideal place to develop nutritious food products because it is a world leader in phytology and agro-food.
“The area, known as the UK’s ‘breadbasket’ due to its ideal growing conditions and fertile soils, combines the country’s largest agricultural economy with plant and agricultural scientists. world-class food to drive research and generate important commercial collaborations. “
“Investors will have access to the expertise of Norwich Research Park partners, a strong network of agribusiness companies and an innovative test bed with new cutting-edge developments underway.
“Promotion needs to take place internationally, as most of the existing companies and investors in the field operate overseas, with growth primarily expected in the United States, Europe and Southeast Asia. Through active engagement with the international market, this HPO will promote Norfolk and Suffolk as an ideal location for companies operating in this sector.
David Parfrey, Managing Director of Norwich Research Park, said: “I am delighted to hear that Norfolk and Suffolk have successfully achieved HPO status from the Department of International Trade. This will help further promote business opportunities within the cutting edge areas of plant and food research at Norwich Research Park, allowing us to continue to spearhead innovation.
“We look forward to working with DIT, New Anglia LEP and other partners to maximize the impact for our region. This opportunity to generate meaningful business collaborations will drive innovation and help us achieve our vision of changing lives. “
Investment Minister Gerry Grimstone said: ‘The UK has so much to offer international investors in a variety of key sectors and regions, with Norfolk and Suffolk setting the national standard for plant science innovation .
“Increasing investment in this new high potential opportunity will ensure it will continue to meet global demand for life-changing research and products, helping the UK to build back better and stronger. “
The work behind the HPO offering includes developing a network of business opportunities to attract new business, both through new businesses moving to the
from abroad and support existing businesses to attract more investment from parent companies. Support will also be given to innovative start-ups and start-ups to create a dynamic and growing cluster that will continue to attract investment from around the world.
Norfolk and Suffolk are already home to global food and beverage brands and more than 1,000 manufacturing companies employing more than 35,000 people.
Along with a large and innovative agribusiness sector and developments like the Food Enterprise Park, the region has the building blocks to create a world-renowned food-focused plant science hub that can compete with international hubs such as St Louis (Missouri), Memphis (Tennessee) and the Wageningen Food Valley (Netherlands).