Food institute in Norwich proves worth to UK economy

School children take part in the tallest jelly competition at the Institute of Food Research. City A

School children take part in the tallest jelly competition at the Institute of Food Research. City Academy pupils win with their tallest jelly. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

A new report has shown that for every £1 invested in Norwich's Institute for Food Research, it generates over £8 for the UK economy.

The report looked at the impact of IFR's research on improving the health of the nation and reducing the economic burden that diet-related diseases place on our healthcare system and the wider society.

Examples where IFR science is already having an impact include a recently-completed project on extending the shelf life of chilled foods, which is already delivering £25m in annual benefits to the chilled food industry. The report also assessed the future impact of IFR's research, particularly in addressing the fundamental relationships between food and health.

Looking at a number of IFR projects, past and present, it found that its activities generated additional output over 10 years of £133,617,730. In addition, the potential benefits from on-going research could be worth an additional £179,359,668 over 10 years to the UK economy.

The report also found that NHS costs would be reduced by £19.6m if IFR research into functional foods that delayed fat digestion and reduced appetite prevented just 0.1pc of the population from becoming obese, at a benefit to the UK economy of £61.6m annually.

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Dr Reg Wilson, deputy director science operations at IFR, said: 'It's obviously very pleasing to see how the sorts of long-term research projects we can undertake at the institute have such positive effects for the wider economy.

'We receive strategic funding from government, and as well as helping us getter a better understanding of how food affects health it is good to know that this investment is economically valuable as well.

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'The report looked in detail at just 14 of the institute's developments. Beneforté broccoli is a strong example of one of them, where over 20 years of public funding is giving us the evidence and a better understanding of how certain foods may protect against chronic diseases, but also delivering nutritionally-enhanced product to supermarket shelves.

'This report shows the value of continued funding for research to IFR and to our partners in the Norwich Research Park and we hope with continued support we can continue to deliver world class science with real value and impact.'

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