Harper Adams University and Dairy Crest sign £4 million investment deal for dedicated food innovation centre


Dairy Crest and Harper Adams University have signed a contract on a unique collaboration project which puts them at the forefront of innovation in British food.

Dairy Crest, the leading British dairy company, has confirmed they will be investing £4 million in building a dedicated Food Innovation Centre on the Harper Adams University campus. Planning permission has been granted and building will start imminently.

Dairy Crest research and development and technical staff will be relocated from the nearby Crudgington site onto the Harper Adams campus from November. Initially they will be based on the upper floor of an existing University building.
Longer term, they will move into a new, purpose-built food innovation centre on the campus, to be developed by Dairy Crest over the coming year.

Dairy Crest, known for market-leading brands such as Cathedral City, Clover, Country Life and FRijj, aims to deliver 10% of year-on-year growth through new product development. The new innovation centre will help the company achieve this with continued focus on scientific research, technology and product development.

In addition to the lease of premises and land, the University and Dairy Crest have entered into a knowledge collaboration agreement that will further strengthen links between the two organisations.

The partnership will enhance Dairy Crest’s product innovation through regular interaction with staff and students as well as providing Dairy Crest with a link into leading research within the agriculture and food sectors. Dairy Crest will further support the University curriculum by providing student placements, staff secondments and guest speakers.

University Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Llewellyn said:

“This new partnership comes at a time when the UK Agri-Tech Strategy is being implemented by the Government and when universities and businesses are being increasingly encouraged to work together to support economic growth."

“We are therefore delighted that Dairy Crest has finalised the plans to move its research and technical development activities to our campus in this novel collaboration within the food sector. The fact that the initiative is based around sharing expertise in education, as well as in research, is an added bonus in that we hope it will encourage young people looking at their career options to consider the huge, and exciting, opportunities presented by the food industry. We look forward to working with our colleagues from Dairy Crest in this important new partnership.”

Mark Allen, Dairy Crest CEO said:

“Innovation is at the heart of Dairy Crest’s business and I see the new centre as key to delivering our business strategy over the next few years."

“We are already working closely with Harper Adams on several research projects and I am certain this will be a long-term partnership which will go from strength to strength."

“I am particularly pleased that the centre is going to be at Harper Adams University – already a centre of excellence in terms of food, farming and science education. This will also allow Dairy Crest to continue our long-standing association with Shropshire.”