• Job title Senior Research and Development Manager
  • Organisation Unilever
  • CourseEnvironment and Agrifood

Why did you choose Cranfield?

Cranfield University is unique in the UK because it focuses exclusively on graduate students. That makes it a really research-intensive culture and environment and it’s a great place to work in a really exciting atmosphere.

Can you tell me a little bit about how Cranfield helped you with this project?

Cranfield University has worked with us during every step of the project. They worked particularly closely with us when we were doing the initial, high science level stages and when the discoveries are made.

What’s the big picture of your research?

We’ve been working with Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and Cranfield University to look at the nutrient content of different varieties of well-known crops such as tea and apples and we found that some different varieties of apple, for instance, can contain up to ten times more nutrients than other varieties. Not 10% but 10 times more. The impact of that for both nutrition and sustainability is huge. You can produce 10 times more nutrients with the same amount of land and the same amount of water.

What is one of the most surprising things you’ve learned?

Finding out that some crop varieties have ten times more nutrients in them than their close relatives was a big surprise as they look the same and they taste the same, or at least very similar. In terms of nutrients the difference is huge and most food companies, and indeed farmers, haven’t really made full of use of it yet.