Food waste research is central to the activity in Bioeconomy and Innovation Hub is dedicated to reducing crop and food waste and improving resource use efficiency in the horticultural and fresh produce supply chains

The Innovation Hub is a purpose-built facility in the heart of Cambridgeshire, facilitated by funding from the Eastern Agritech Growth Initiative. This unique centre has a particular focus on fresh produce and field vegetables generally. We welcome farmers and growers, food businesses, and other users wishing to engage in applied research work to reduce or re-use all forms of waste in the food supply chain and improve resource use efficiency in its production.

Research and trial activity includes:

  • Waste reduction — healthy soils, crop production, field and post harvest storage
  • Waste management — packing, processing and alternative uses and markets
  • Increase value or application potential for new products from waste streams
  • Identifying opportunities to recycle waste or generate energy and co-products
  • Target total and marketable field losses, due to weather, pests and diseases or other damage
  • Reduce loss of quality or specification in store due to crop physiology, disease or storage conditions

The Hub is also set up for technology transfer events and provides a centre for training and apprenticeships. Links are being forged with schools and colleges to support learning throughout the region and to develop the skills required for a thriving agri-industry.

Managed by NIAB and overseen by an independent non-executive Board, Innovation Hub includes project management, business development, research and technical personnel with specific knowledge related to crop science, waste management and field trials.

Innovation Hub hosts the 3rd EU Interreg 2 Seas Mers Zeeen BioBoost partners meeting

Innovation Hub hosts the 3rd EU Interreg 2 Seas Mers Zeeen BioBoost partners meeting

BioBoost and Interreg
BioBoost: the acceleration of transition to a bioeconomy in horticulture

Our new BioBoost project, funded by the EU Interreg 2 Seas programme, is all about using and reducing waste from fresh produce. We will use crop bi-products and waste crop materials as feedstocks for new higher value end-products, which otherwise would be wasted or used for lower value products. Here at Innovation Hub we are looking into more environmentally friendly solutions to minimise the impact of waste on our environment and improve the sustainability of production methods. This 3.5 year project includes scientists from industry and academia in the Netherlands, UK, and Belgium, seeking to learn from each other's innovations and to progress the best solutions through to the marketplace.

NIAB, together with the project partners, is seeking to accelerate the transition towards a more circular bioeconomy by implementing regional test and pilot projects for the development of new techniques, methods and products in the horticultural sector and supporting their development towards market-uptake. We will support SMEs towards the development of innovations and to accelerate their entry to the market. This collaborative project is co-ordinated by our Dutch colleagues in Westland in the west of The Netherlands.

Reducing wastage in UK agriculture is a key step in addressing the challenge of producing food in a more sustainable and efficient way. WRAP UK estimates that 16% of all food waste occurs before it arrives on retailers' shelves.