Sheffield Hallam University Secures Funding for Sauce Production Project

Sheffield Hallam University has embarked on an audacious mission, securing an impressive £232,000 in funding to lead a groundbreaking project targeting the reduction of the carbon footprint in sauce production, while simultaneously elevating nutritional quality and flavour. 

This ambitious venture, undertaken in close partnership with Premier Foods, is set to focus on the development and application of continuous flow ohmic heater (CFOH) technology, poised for rigorous testing on an eclectic range of sauces meticulously crafted by Premier Foods.

The CFOH Revolution: A Technical Marvel

Continuous flow ohmic heater (CFOH) technology represents a significant leap forward in the culinary world. At its core, CFOH achieves unparalleled uniform heating by passing electrical current directly through the food substance, all while demanding considerably less energy than conventional heating methods. 

This revolutionary approach is poised to bridge the longstanding gap between theoretical research and practical application, potentially heralding a model shift in conventional heating and processing techniques

What’s more, it promises to usher in a wave of new business opportunities, bolster job security, and contribute substantially to the United Kingdom‘s food and energy security.

A Visionary Leader

The Senior Lecturer and Healthier Lives Research Theme Lead at Sheffield Hallam University, is at the helm of this transformative project. 

With fervour, they underscore the significance of this innovative partnership, stating that this is an exciting project that brings together industry and academic partners by combining expertise to jointly develop a scalable and energy-efficient heating solution. 

Furthermore, they added that it will build on existing technology developed by NCEFE and apply it in real-world processing conditions, potentially revolutionising the overall approach to food production.

A Generous Investment by Innovate UK

Funding for this groundbreaking endeavour has been generously provided by Innovate UK, a division of UK Research and Innovation, under the auspices of the Better Food for All Programme

This program, underpinned by an investment capacity of up to £20 million, is committed to nurturing innovative solutions that confront the pressing nutritional challenges of our time. The pilot-scale study will delve into crucial areas of inquiry, including the complexities of uneven heating, degradation of food quality due to over-processing, energy efficiency enhancements, and the imperative task of minimising negative environmental impacts

Furthermore, the valuable insights garnered from this study have the potential to guide future investments in food processing technology, steering the industry towards a greener and more sustainable future.

Premier Foods: A Thriving Partnership

Premier Foods, a titan in the food industry, has eagerly embraced this collaboration with their academic partners. Head of Creative Solutions at Premier Foods, enthusiastically voiced their support by saying that as a prominent manufacturer in the food industry, they can’t wait to embark on this innovative project alongside their esteemed academic partners. 

Moreover they continued to express that by pooling their collective expertise in this unique endeavour, they stand on the precipice of a breakthrough in environmentally friendly heating techniques, which has the potential to revolutionise cooking and processing methods within this sector.

A Global Market and Environmental Stakes

In 2023, the global cooking sauces and condiments market soared to a staggering valuation of £199.3 billion, with the UK market alone valued at £3.9 billion, as per Statistica. However, this thriving industry has long been identified as a key contributor to the global carbon footprint. 

What’s more, the Waste & Resources Action Programme has identified food systems, both in the UK and around the world, as the source of one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions.

A Vision of a Sustainable Future

In conclusion, Sheffield Hallam University’s innovative project, in collaboration with Premier Foods, represents a pivotal step toward a more sustainable and efficient future for the food industry. 

By harnessing the transformative power of CFOH technology, this initiative promises not only enhanced taste and nutrition but also the potential to mitigate the industry’s significant environmental impact. 

As they embark on this groundbreaking journey, the stage is set for a brighter, more sustainable future in food processing and cooking methods, one that simultaneously addresses pressing nutrition challenges and safeguards the health of the planet.

News Credits: University secures £232k funding for sustainable sauce project

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