Two highly innovative collaborations have won Interface Food & Drink’s legacy competition providing funding of £88,000 towards industry–academic projects.

One project will test the innovative application of pyrolysis in converting waste plastic in the farming industry while the other will test the viability of using commercially produced seaweed in animal feeds.

The companies investigating the conversion of waste plastics into new products are Angus Growers, East of Scotland Growers, Kettle Produce and three academic partners; Edinburgh Napier University, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Strathclyde.

The second project analysing the use of seaweed in animal feeds is a collaboration between Davidson Brothers (Shotts) Limited and SAMS, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands. This research will focus on the viability of an innovative pre-treatment process of seaweeds to produce a nutritional and sustainable supplement for feed products; biomass will also be a by-product.

Helen Pratt, Project Manager at Interface Food & Drink, said:

“Working together, business and academics can push ahead with really ground-breaking innovations which enhance the sustainability of the businesses in all senses of the word, and help the evolution of the dream of a circular economy into reality.

“These two projects, which will be the last funded through an Interface Food & Drink competition, stood out as not only having the potential to make a real difference to the individual businesses involved, but also to the wider industry, not only in their own competitive sectors but to primary production as a whole.  The sustainability factor of both projects appealed greatly to the judges.”

William Houstoun, General Manager of Angus Growers, said: 

“If realised, this new approach is going to modernise the way the soft fruit and vegetable industry deals with plastic at the end of its productive life, changing the way wastes are viewed - as a resource and not an  expensive problem with a poor public image.

“This will offer multiple benefits to the industry, as well as the wider Scottish economy, such as cost savings on waste disposal, resource efficiency, reduced CO2 emissions, additional revenue streams from new product sales, and increasing the economic incentive to recycle plastics.”

Gary Dow, Company Accountant, of Davidsons Animal Feeds, said:

“Our aim has always been to provide our customers with value for money products that are high performance in their use for livestock production. By collaborating with experts from SAMS we hope to introduce a new, sustainable feedstock into our ingredients while maintaining the quality and high nutritional values our customers expect.”


Notes to Editors

The collaboration behind Recovering value from waste agricultural plastics from the Scottish vegetable and soft fruit industry comprises: The Angus Growers Ltd, a soft fruit producer organisation in Arbroath owned and managed by 19 growers; Biofuel Research Centre, Edinburgh Napier University; UK Biochar Research Centre, School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh; Engineering Management Group, Design Manufacture and Engineering Management Department, University of Strathclyde.

The collaboration behind - The development of a nutritional, viable and sustainable ingredient for the animal feeds industry comprises: Davidson Brothers (Shotts) Limited; and the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS).

Pyrolysis is the process by which larger molecules are broken down into smaller components using elevated temperatures.

Interface Food & Drink

Interface Food & Drink is funded by the Scottish Funding Council and was set up with the aim of promoting partnerships between businesses and academics to drive innovation through knowledge exchange, collaboration and funding.

The five year project, which ends this year, covers the whole of Scotland and the entire food chain from primary agriculture/fishing to production and processing through to retail and export. 

Its mission has been to increase innovation in Scottish food and drink companies through collaboration with Scottish academia and with each other.  The measure of success can be seen in the 15 common interest groups Interface Food and Drink have been involved in.  It has also funded several PhD and Masters level studentships and numerous feasibility and proof of principle studies for individual companies and companies working in partnership with each other or on behalf of trade associations.

The Scottish Funding Council

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) is responsible for allocating public funds to colleges and universities in support of Scottish Government priorities. The SFC was established by the Scottish Parliament in 2005 and is a non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government

For more information please contact:

Suzy Powell

Tel:     0845 0130536
Mob:   07711 273007