Issue date: 05 February 2013
A new partnership signed between UWE Bristol and Bristol-based company The Bart Ingredient Company will lead to a wider product range, more efficient manufacturing and improved stock control.
The government supported Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) is worth £120,000 over a two-year period. KTPs involve a three-way link-up between a company, a University and a recent graduate to undertake a specific project.
The company - based in Bedminster since the 1970s - buys, blends and packs a wide range of herbs, spices and ingredients from around the world, including organic and Fairtrade products. As well as producing a wide assortment of excellent staple kitchen cooking ingredients, its culinary experts work with the different varieties of herbs and spices to create blends such as Ras al Hanout, Berbere, or Zatar from the Middle East or Cajun and Creole from the Americas.
The £200 million UK herb and spice market is a growing one, and there is particularly strong growth in the 'wet' paste sector. Bart is keen to take advantage of this growth, as well as introduce a wider range of cook's ingredients such as seasonings, oils and stuffings, a market worth £900 million.
Key challenges for the academic team, which includes science, business and manufacturing experts, will be to find ways of helping the company to further improve its already very high quality of herbs and spices. They aim to explore new opportunities in this growing market sector, improve supply chain efficiencies, optimise stock levels and reconfigure production to enable rapid set-up between different product types such as dry spices and wet paste ingredients.
Project leader Farid Dailami said, “UWE is proud to support this dynamic, Bristol-based manufacturer to make a step-change in its performance, particularly as the food sector is a priority in today's economy.
“Bart's project provides a great job opportunity for a recent graduate in process engineering or food manufacturing, who will be backed up by the knowledge and academic supervision of UWE business and engineering experts.
“The understanding gained of solving real-life manufacturing challenges will be embedded within UWE, feeding back into our student programmes and providing several opportunities for final year undergraduate and MEng projects.”
Keith Crossley, Chief Operating Officer said, “We are delighted with this new partnership which will create a platform for the company's further growth and innovation.
“Greater efficiency and less waste will help improve our competitiveness, particularly when trying to export products. Increased production flexibility and capacity will allow us to grow our current core market and also move into new areas which are crucial to our long-term sustainable growth.”