Irish Food Tech: providing innovation expertise & support to industry

The Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway cluster, Irish Food Tech, consists of 7 Technology Gateways providing access to knowledge, expertise, skills and equipment in the food and beverage technology area. Cluster resources can be accessed by companies across Ireland in a wide selection of areas that include bioprocessing, food for health, process control and packaging.  

Irish Food Tech has successfully collaborated on projects with all types of Irish Industry, ranging from large corporations to small family businesses. To see more on previous success stories and projects check out their case studies.  

APT Gateway 

APT applies technologies for companies who use polymer materials – ranging in size from start-ups and SMEs to multinational companies.  The gateway provides a range of RD&I solutions, product development support and troubleshooting skills for companies in this area. 

Using its suite of characterisation equipment and pilot polymer processing facilities, APT can cover all areas of the production lifecycle. This capacity ranges from concept design and prototype development towards commercial launch of a development product, production optimisation and troubleshooting for existing processes and end of life recycling. Using 3D additive printing, APT can also fabricate customised injection mould tooling which, married with its pilot production facilities, can fabricate a limited run of bespoke prototypes. 

Read how APT assisted Irish Company Project 5, with the design and development of an assisted eating platform. Through the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher scheme and utilising the expertise in product design, product development, design for manufacture and polymer materials available with the gateway, 3 prototype designs were developed for the company.  

CAPPA Gateway  

CAPPA works in the area of photonics, the generation and manipulation of light, and is an important enabling technology for a wide range of applications. CAPPA can assist the food and beverage industry with light-based photonic technologies for research, process improvement, product development, and consultancy and near to market problems. 

Companies within the food and beverage industry can benefit from the gateways expertise in all aspects from detection and identification of bacteria and other microorganisms to analysis of ingredients, processes and final product samples. They also have expertise in the dairy and agriculture sector with a focus on component detection, food authentication and spoilage, identifying defects and locating contaminants. 

Read how CAPPA provided an innovation solution to Irish company, Four Star Pizza, who needed to develop a quality control test for mozzarella cheese to determine its maturity.  

Design+ Gateway 

The Design+ Gateway applies industrial design capabilities for food and beverage companies regionally and nationally.  Design+ has a proven track record in knowledge transfer and delivering innovation solutions to industry. Through the gateway companies can access a vast range of research expertise and development support in the area of packaging and brand communication. 

RD&I support is also available in the form of additive manufacturing capabilities, rapid prototyping, CAD product design, 3D printing, electronic prototyping and design strategy.  

Read how Design+ collaborated with Maccamore Buffalo Farm to develop a strategy for growth and innovation.  A strategic review, including a series of facilitated design workshops were conducted by Design + to scope and frame the existing resources, capacity and expertise in the company, providing the company with the steps to implementation, time scales, resources required, critical factors and milestones. 

MET Gateway  

The MET Gateway offers cutting-edge, industry focused solutions with a special focus on Nutrition and Sport. The Gateway is dedicated to advancing the sciences of nutrition and sport in collaboration with industry and to maximising healthy outcomes in the Irish population. 

With leading expertise in Nutrition and Sports Science, the MET research team can assist the food industry in all aspects of novel food development. The team have the knowledge and skills to test and modify the impact of foods on physiological and metabolic parameters. 

Read how, through an Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership, MET worked with Irish company Ocean Harvest on the clinical evaluation of specific seaweed blends for the aquaculture industry. 

MiCRA Gateway 

The MiCRA Biodiagnostics Gateway is an industry-led technology gateway focuses on the advancement of electrochemical sensor technologies, diagnostic products, and prototype development, and consists of state-of-the-art electroanalytical, analytical, surface science, cell culture and microbiology labs/instrumentation, and sensor/prototype fabrication facilities.   

MiCRA Gateway focuses on the advancement of biosensor technologies, using materials such as enzymes and advanced polymers. The gateway delivers solutions to companies in many sectors including in vitro diagnostics, environmental, food and pharmaceuticals. Staffed by microbiologists, chemists, physical scientists and engineers, MiCRA helps companies in many areas including sensor prototyping and manufacturing, materials development and characterisation, immunoassay platform development, enzyme biosensors for human and animal health care, and biosensors for the rapid and sensitive detection of bacteria.  

Read how MiCRA worked with Kastus, an award-winning surface innovation company, on antimicrobial coatings resistance testing.   

PMBRC Gateway 

The PMBRC Gateway supports bio-life science companies in the south east of Ireland and nationwide. Their state-of-the-art facility, has an extensive suite of characterisation and analytical equipment as well as access to a dedicated team of industry-focused research personnel.   

Some examples of projects and areas of development that PMBRC have collaborated on with industry include: materials characterisation and pre-formulation; drug delivery and formulation; chromatography, separation science and impurity identification; novel sensor and process technologies; and biomedical research and molecular biotechnology. 

Read how PMBrc recently provided expertise to PepsiCo assisting with the characterisation of raw materials used in concentrates. Using the data generated, the project team were able to identify the ideal quality attributes of the incoming raw materials and likewise flag potential problematic batches of incoming ingredients. 

Shannon ABC Gateway  

The Shannon ABC Gateway is a leader in bioresource research – detection, identification, characterisation and valorisation.  The gateway responds to the need from industries through the sustainable development of viable and cost-effective processes and products from bio-resources.  

Shannon ABC food and drink research is predominantly focused on ingredient development, and determining efficacy and impact of these ingredients. The core research carried out is intended as use-inspired research; it is research with an application in mind. The types of efficacy studied for food and drink applications include: Prebiotic, Anti-oxidant, Anti-inflammatory, Bioavailability, Anti-diabetic and Heart health. This development is driven through collaborative research and development, providing risk management and opportunity identification for clients, partners and researchers.  

Read how Shannon ABC assisted Commercial Mushroom Producers with a range of testing to quantify the composition of compost, in order to yield the greatest growth and guarantee a good crop of mushrooms.  

For more information, industry projects and case studies check out the Irish Food Tech webpage,  follow on Twitter  or subscribe to our YouTube channel.