Food Forward and partners receive funding for UK dairy manufacturers’ data portal

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Food Forward aims to be the UK’s leading green tech business for the food sector. Pic: ©Getty Images/Birute
Food Forward aims to be the UK’s leading green tech business for the food sector. Pic: ©Getty Images/Birute

Related tags Dairy Renewable energy Sustainability

UK green technology company Food Forward Ltd, supported by researchers at the University of Surrey, has been awarded £60,000 ($79,000) of funding from Innovate UK to build out its data platform for the UK dairy industry.

London-based Food Forward aims to be the UK’s leading green tech business for the food sector. The new tool, Dairy Forward, will match UK manufacturers of dairy foods with sustainable energy, food waste and water management technologies.

Dairy Forward is able to compare producers of cheese, butter, yogurt and other dairy products with each other in terms of energy consumed and waste produced.  It can also match sites with sustainable solutions like solar power purchase agreements, anaerobic digesters and energy storage technologies.  Companies adopting these technologies increase their protection, long term, against volatile input costs and help them make better use of wasted resources.

Dairy Forward's collected data will match variables like location and energy and water usage with solutions drawn from Food Forward’s network of clean tech providers.

Conrad Young, managing director of Food Forward, said, “Our web tool collects data from a typical medium sized factory – say a yogurt manufacturer, processing 50,000 tonnes of milk per year – and can calculate its energy costs, roof space and the cost of solar panel installation. It then matches them with a solar company which can install and operate panels and sell the cheap renewable energy back to the factory.

“In this example, by cutting their imported energy resource costs, the factory can use savings of £500,000 ($658,000) to reduce the price of their yogurts over 25 years. Even better, they’ll be cutting the equivalent carbon emissions of 700 dairy cows.”

Helping companies

Professor Angela Druckman of the University of Surrey, said, “Food Forward has developed a unique proposition and we’re delighted to be partnering the team at this key stage in their journey. By cutting wasteful primary resource costs, the dairy sector can enjoy better resource productivity. That means the same block of cheese, but for a lower price and smaller environmental footprint.”

The Dairy Forward project aims to demonstrate that helping companies to visualize their resource footprint and the long-term benefits of specific clean technologies, while amplifying that demand to the technology providers, will speed up adoption.

In its initial phase thanks to funding from the UK Government’s Business Basics program, it is able to offer places to 36 small and medium sized manufacturers.

Related topics R&D Sustainability Dairy Health Check