Our work in Food Quality addresses the challenge of providing the world’s growing population with sustainable, safe and nutritious fresh and processed foods.

Our research and expertise is centred around pre and postharvest technology and plant science. We are world-renowned as being one of the largest and best equipped postharvest research groups in the EU. Combined with our expertise in food safety we are able to service all sectors of the food supply chain, including major food producers, retailers and grower levy bodies.

The prevalence of diet-related chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes is on the rise across the globe. Our research is concerned with the identification of health-promoting properties in plants to help towards the development of new products that will improve human health and wellbeing.

We work closely with industry, government departments and charitable groups helping to provide solutions to major global health challenges.

Examples of key business clients and partners include Barfoots of Botley Ltd, Food Standards Agency, EPSRC, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson Matthey plc, Marks and Spencer plc, Nestle, Pepsico, Unilever and WRAP.

About our research

We are committed to increasing the quality, safety, traceability and consistency of food delivered to the consumer, whilst minimising waste.

Food Quality at Cranfield encompasses a very broad range of activity stretching across the entire global food chain system. From pre-harvest technology; focusing on the impacts of soil science, irrigation scheduling, crop physiology and plant breeding on food quality; to postharvest technology; focusing on storage treatments for fresh produce and durables to help extend shelf- and home-life, including metabolomics to identify enhanced nutrient and bioactive profiles within plants for potential health benefits.

Our research has real-world impact on the populations’ health. Outputs include technology that helps improve the quality of food, thus increasing health benefits and reducing diet-related disease. As consumers’ interest in the nutritional content of their food increases, our research helps our clients and partners to develop new and healthy products that meet their demands.

Our research into storage treatments extends the shelf- and home-life of fresh produce leading to reduced wastage and maintained quality for longer periods of time. Our technology often leads to patents and is used commercially by our partners and clients.

Our facilities

We utilise the university’s extensive state-of-the-art facilities that are also accessible to doctoral students and, on a contractual or consultancy basis, external organisations.

Facilities include our purpose-built Bioscience Laboratories housed in the Vincent Building which include the following:

  • Environmental Analytical Facility
  • Plant Science Laboratory – with suite of controlled environment rooms and controlled atmosphere chambers
  • Research glass house (230m² with computer-controlled light, heat and venting)
  • Laboratories for analytical biochemistry/ metabolomics, molecular biology, mycology and general microbiology and soil analysis.

Working with us

Through our research and consultancy provision, we provide business solutions to a wide-range of health-related challenges related to food quality presented to us by our clients.

We offer a flexible approach to meet the needs of our commercial clients. The following services are available:

• Development of research proposals in close consultation with our industrial partners
• Confidential industrial research under contract.

Cranfield Analytical Services provide tailor-made services to profile and quantify important analytes in plant and food samples. This is a rapidly expanding activity with a growing list of industrial and academic lists

We have an excellent track record in securing government funding for pre-competitive research to meet the future needs of industry (eg. BBSRC, EPSRC and TSB). We also provide a range of opportunities to fund applied research projects through postgraduate studentships.