Lincoln academic publishes international textbook on Food Safety and Quality Assurance

A new book by University of Lincoln academic, Mark Swainson, combines Food Science and Technology disciplines with high level management practice to advance the assurance of food quality, safety and legality in the UK’s largest industrial sector – Food Manufacturing.

As the world’s most vital industry, food manufacturing is complex, multifaceted and continuously scrutinised. Food scares and product recalls – on national and international scales – demonstrate the persistent challenge to identify, monitor and control all hazards (microbiological, chemical, physical & allergens) and also address the increasing criminal threats of food fraud, adulteration and contamination.

Mark Swainson is Deputy Head and Lead for Higher Education & Research at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM), the University’s dedicated Food Manufacturing Centre operating within the College of Science.

Published and distributed by Elsevier – one of the world’s major providers of scientific, technical, and medical information – “Swainson’s Handbook of Technical and Quality Management for the Food Manufacturing Sector” is focused on this expansive and highly demanding subject area.

When asked about the new book Mark said: “I am very proud to have a book published in the Woodhead Publishing Series of Food Science, Technology and Nutrition – a series of books that has always been so widely respected by food industry practitioners, researchers and other stakeholders in the sector.”

Additional information:

Find out more about the National Centre for Food Manufacturing online.

Blockchain or bust for the food industry? | Our assessment is published in Food Science and Technology Journal

Tom Hollands, Wayne Martindale, Mark Swainson and John G. Keogh explore the benefits and pitfalls of Blockchain.There has recently been a wave of enthusiasm for applying Blockchain technology in the food sector. This article aims to clarify many of the questions surrounding Blockchain technologies, in particular:


is Blockchain the future for the food industry and therefore does my company need a Blockchain?


Traceability has been achieved for many years using systems that connect core business processes with strategic management of product and supply chain data, namely Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platforms. Companies must determine what Blockchains can offer that is different from existing ERP systems and what is the value of using them. Working within a secure cloud platform is mainstream today but this was not the case five years ago.While ERP systems have significant benefits that can be realised, they are often very expensive to implement, with the cost of implementation linked to the operational complexity. The full costs can range broadly from £150,000 to £1,000,000+ and therefore are prohibitive for many SMEs, which make up 96% of the UK Food industry

Read the assessment here: Blockchain or bust for the food industry? | Food Science and Technology

University of Lincoln Commended for Plans to Tackle Global Research Challenges

The University of Lincoln, UK, has been commended for its cutting edge approach in tackling global research challenges.

From developing low-cost food technologies to improving water health, the University’s strategy to create projects that will help benefit developing communities has been hailed as best practice by Research England.

The strategy was submitted to the Global Challenges Research Fund which is part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment. The Government has allocated £58m from this fund to Research England to distribute to English universities who received Quality-related Research (QR) funding in the 2018-19 academic year.

More than 100 universities submitted strategies and the University of Lincoln, UK, is one of only 10 who submitted what Research England described as ‘exemplary strategies’ and said: “The University of Lincoln’s strategy has a clear link to their overall institutional strategy and is clear and concise in identifying specific activities that will be undertaken and the developing countries they will benefit”.

The University of Lincoln has been awarded £136,436 from the fund to split between two major research projects working with communities predominantly in India and Africa.

Global SCOPE – Supply Chain Optimisation and Engagement, led by Mark Swainson, Deputy Head for Higher Education and Research at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing, will examine the food supply chain in an effort to come up with ways to reduce poverty by focusing on understanding and developing low-cost technologies to reduce food waste.

The Lincoln Centre for Water and Planetary Health (LCWPH) has been purposely configured to facilitate a step change in water health and sustainability science and the GCRF will be used to develop a regional hub for water and planetary health in South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) with an initial focus on the Ganga River and its tributaries in India. Key aspects of the plan will include forging relationships with communities globally, developing solutions-based research that will have a real impact on a significant scale and change the lives of some of the world’s poorest communities.

Deputy Vice Chancellor Andrew Hunter said: “Our strategy is aligned with an overarching aim of the University which is to identify and address opportunities and challenges presented by the rapidly changing world.

“International research and innovation is critical to achieving this.”

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Food Nutritionals- how to get a balance with great expectations and declarations 

The National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM) is currently working with a number small medium enterprises (SME’s) in the food industry supporting them to incorporate nutritional information in their menu items. Our work has assisted in nutritional calculation and provision of nutrition information including allergen information, Ingredient list, daily intake values and the ‘traffic light.’ Nutrition Facts Information (NFI). Such insight into menus and food offers can improve business outlook and stimulate innovations, examples of these are reported here…….

Source: Food Nutritionals- great expectations and declarations – Food Insights and Sustainability @NCFM

Nutrition and NPD Innovations inaugural meeting- how will you build sustainability into product development?

With representatives from eight Lincolnshire based companies, the inaugural meeting for the NCFM’s ‘Nutrition and NPD Innovations’ breakfast meetings series, took place on the 20th November 2018. The National Centre of Food Manufacturing (NCFM) venue made the perfect start to communicating what is new in the nutrition and NPD arena.

The NCFM at the University of Lincoln are leading a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) project to support small to medium sized enterprises in Lincolnshire to enable innovation in our food industry. This project is called the Greater Lincolnshire Agri-Food Innovation Platform (GLAFIP) and it enables us to provide support for short-term projects for Lincolnshire companies. We can help to develop food innovations that can future-proof and support growth of food businesses.

The ‘Nutrition and NPD Innovations’ Breakfast Meetings will continue for the duration of GLAFIP to October 2020 and we expect our next meeting in January 2019 which is not that far away!

Our first meeting showed how the NCFM is supporting the GLAFIP, with the newly formed Food Robotics, Automation and Processing (FRAP); Food Analysis and Microbiology (FAM); and, Food Insights and Sustainability (FIS), Research Clusters.

The meeting was focused on new products and the presentation of the innovative No Dough Pizza and Fit Kitchen products manufactured by Grimsby based Scratch Foods Ltd gave a first-hand view on innovating in this space. The product presentation was delivered first-hand from one of their founders and managing director, Phil Pinnell.

The need for manufacturers to deliver consumers with the fulfilment, indulgence and great nutritional outcomes is challenging. This is the environment that Scratch have made true step changes in, working on meal offers from ‘scratch’ and the NPD insights gained in doing it were discussed. It provided insight into delivering a new type of ‘high density nutrition’ offer to the market.

A major challenge facing us in the Nutrition and NPD arena is the ‘stacking of issues’ which can result in a focus on far more problems than solutions. ‘Stacking’ is where several attributes of nutrition such as salt, sugar, fat, gluten and meat reduction have been combined to provide a noisy mixture of messages that are difficult to decipher when consumers are choosing meals. The resulting drive to identify what is going to be ‘stacked’ next diverts focus on innovating nutrition for whole meals. A far more creative approach is to develop meals that deliver sustainable outcomes for consumers and breaks the high-pressured ‘stacking’ route to market. Placing sustainability thinking into this approach is clearly important to the future food industry!

The discussion was followed by a demonstration of the OAL and NCFM demonstrators of steam infusion and fast cooling of foods by Chris Brooks, OAL’s Development Chef. These demonstrators were established at NCFM in Innovate UK funded projects led by OAL. Examples of this heating and cooling technology are provided for several materials including a Ragu Sauce, which is available to see here. The final demonstration of the day by OAL’s Kyle Constable, who has been recently awarded the PPMA Apprentice of the Year Award, showed how OAL’s steam infusion cooking was placed in-line into factories with robotic and automation technologies. This gave everyone a crystal clear idea of what the term ‘factory of future’ actually means! You can see a version of that demonstration here. Chris also showed how these technologies can tackle issues with challenging materials such as Bechamel Sauces so that consumer experience, nutritional content and manufacturing efficiency are improved.

OAL’s APRIL robotic chef demonstrator in one of the food halls at NCFM

All-in-all, it was a fantastic start to the ‘Nutrition and NPD Innovations’ meetings where the benefit of integrating technology, NPD and sustainability was clear to see. NCFM’s Dr Wayne Martindale, Lead for the Food Insights and Sustainability Research Cluster, facilitates the meetings and he will develop the series. The format will recognise the time given by attendees is valuable, so the 8-10 am delivery is the only thing set in stone.

Ideas for future ‘Nutrition and NPD Innovations’ meetings are very welcome. Please contact Wayne if you would like to be at or know more about the next breakfast meeting.

Break up the stack, start from scratch and build-in sustainability for every meal!