A new multi-million-pound food innovation centre will put the North East at the centre of a green revolution in the food industry.

The Novel Food Innovation Centre, established by the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) is based in Wilton, Redcar on part of the Teesside Freeport site and will drive forward cutting-edge technologies in food production.

The centre is set to create and safeguard up to 50 jobs in its initial phase, with the aim of bringing further investment in novel food production to the region over the coming years.

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An initial £2m investment from the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority has enabled CPI to create a certified food grade facility to help companies develop new and improved food ingredients and samples that can be ingested.

In 2020, the food supply chain was responsible for 26 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions, with novel foods set to reduce the environmental impact of the food industry by up to 45 per cent.

Food produced at the centre will be made using a technique known as precision fermentation, this is a process very similar to beer production. Using this technique, the centre can create ingredients which can be used in food products.

CPI are inviting companies looking to develop their products by collaborating with and utilising CPI’s expertise to fast-track novel food ingredients to the market.

Companies can also take advantage of CPI’s expertise in creating sustainable packaging.

Kris Wadrop, Managing Director of Food, AgriTech and Materials at CPI said: “The UK’s food systems need to change. The world is faced with a global challenge to drastically cut our greenhouse gas emissions and if we don’t act now then the consequences are dire for us all. Novel foods have amazing potential to future proof the UK’s food industry as we make those changes.

“The North East is set to become the epicentre of this green revolution in the food industry and, at the same time we can give back to the region by creating highly-skilled jobs and economic growth.”

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Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen said: “This cutting-edge centre is a fantastic example of how our area is now leading the way in developing the highly skilled, innovative industries which will help to cut carbon emissions and ensure a greener future for all.

“We are supporting and growing our amazing biosciences and healthcare sectors and our funding is helping CPI develop the latest technologies, make new ideas a reality, improve food production and, ultimately, boost the health and wellbeing of people across the UK.

“Our investment ensures CPI can continue their excellent work and builds on my plan to deliver well-paid, highly skilled, sustainable jobs which grow our local economy. Crucially, it will also benefit other local companies and attract great businesses looking to invest here.”