Teagasc Food Innovation Gateways Event – Prepared Consumer Foods
The agri-food sector is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry with a gross annual output of over €26 billion generating almost 13% of exports. The sector accounts for approximately 10% of total employment. The Prepared Consumer Foods sector is an important contributor to this.
A Teagasc Food Innovation Gateways event on Prepared Consumer Foods is taking place in Teagasc Ashtown today, Wednesday, 3 June. The latest research, technologies available and expertise from Teagasc, UCC and other state organisation is on display for industry to engage with.
Speaking in Dublin today, Pat Daly, Teagasc said: “Food Harvest 2020 has laid out ambitious growth targets for the sector over coming years. The Prepared Consumer Foods sector currently employs in the region of 20,000 people with the potential to increase this number significantly over coming years. The PCF sector operates in a very competitive and fast changing market place where innovation is a critical factor in success. Effective utilisation of high-level skills in science and engineering will be a critical factor for success in the sector.”
Teagasc has a critical role to play in the delivery of the ambitious growth objectives laid out for the development of agri-food. Teagasc, with research, advisory and education services integrated in a single organisation, allows a more rapid transfer of the knowledge and technology generated from research and tested in applied situations, to flow out for the benefit of the farming community and the food industry. Each year Teagasc provides research, training and consultancy services to approximately 250 food sector businesses.
The food development pilot plants at Teagasc Moorepark, Cork and at Teagasc Ashtown in Dublin have been critical anchors in the innovation process. In these pilot plants, industry projects are given a practical focus; process scale-up feasibility is explored and the utility of products in real applications is assessed.
The collaboration between state agencies and the attendance of so many food companies at today’s event for the Prepared Consumer Foods sector reflects the continuing importance of agriculture and food production to the Irish economy. The projected increased global demand, not only for food, but for higher ‘value added’ food provides a real opportunity for Ireland to position itself to significantly increase food exports and create jobs and wealth in the economy.
Concluding Pat Daly said: “Today’s event combines stimulating presentations with visits to Teagasc laboratories and processing plant, along with an opportunity to visit the technology exhibition stands and gain an appreciation of the range of supports available and the range of technologies ready for commercialisation.”