A new independent report on the impact of the BBSRC-funded Institute of Food Research has shown that every £1 invested in the IFR delivers £8 in benefits to the UK economy.
Food is the UK's biggest manufacturing sector, and the 'Impact of the Institute of Food Research' report from Brookdale Consulting shows IFR's research and innovation is supporting growth in this sector and the UK economy as a whole.
Every £1 invested in IFR research funding provides a return on investment to the UK economy of £8.18.
The report looks at a number of IFR projects, past and present, and puts a figure on the impact that these have had, or are conservatively projected to have.
In total, IFR's activities have 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.
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 Food Databanks National Capability is worth £14.6M to the academics, dieticians and food industry researchers who use its services.
The report also assesses the future impact of IFR's research, particularly in addressing the fundamental relationships between food and health.
The outcomes of this research impact on government policy and health advice, and will support potential growth and innovation in the food industry.
Key impacts include improving people's health and the overall health of the nation through reducing chronic diet-related diseases such as cancer and heart disease. As well as the obvious benefits to people's lives, any reduction in these conditions has a major impact in reducing the amount spent by the NHS on treatment.
If IFR research into functional foods that delay fat digestion and reduce appetite can prevent just 0.1% of the population from becoming obese, it would reduce NHS costs by £19.6million and benefit the UK economy by £61.6million annually.
The IFR is a lynchpin in the expansion of the Norwich Research Park, a UK Research and Innovation Campus containing Europe's largest concentration of bioscientists working in food, health, agriculture and the environment.