The transformational SeedPod industry development hub in north east Scotland will help to grow the size and value of food and drink production and exports.
SeedPod will combine specialist facilities and support programmes to drive business growth and sustainability through technology adoption, product and market development, and global consumer-focus.
The £21 million investment will help new and established producers, manufacturers and processors to achieve industry’s growth ambitions. It will support long-term economic recovery, company growth and the creation of new jobs in the sector, which employs more than 22,000 people in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
SeedPod will accelerate the adoption of advanced manufacturing and Industry 4.0 tech and processes. It will also use global market insights to inspire businesses to capitalise on emerging and on-trend "foods of the future" opportunities. Product innovation and market development will increase premium margins for the region's high-quality produce.
The site for the 32,000 square foot new-build SeedPod facility is close to Aberdeen International Airport and the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route.
The project includes £10 million of capital funding provided jointly by the UK Government and Scottish Government via the Aberdeen City Region Deal (ACRD) – a partnership between both governments, Opportunity North East (ONE), Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council – and £4.4 million from ONE.
SeedPod will be a unique growth resource for the industry. It will provide customised support programmes and specialist facilities, including incubator commercial-grade manufacturing units; development kitchens; full-service managed production and storage space; presentation areas; co-working and collaboration space. It will also create opportunities to pilot advanced manufacturing processes and technology, scale-up production, and inspire new product development with global insights.
ONE is the lead ACRD partner for SeedPod and has set up a new company, Food Hub (NES) Limited, to deliver the project with an industry board under the chairmanship of Patrick Machray OBE.
SeedPod’s delivery is moving ahead at pace. The concept design stage is complete and detailed design development is ongoing. The Food Hub (NES) board has approved the start of the procurement process for the main contractor.
Mr Machray, who is vice-chair of ONE, said: “North east Scotland's £2.2 billion annual turnover food and drink industry includes outstanding primary produce, innovative and resilient businesses, and world-renowned brands. There are significant opportunities to develop new products and markets.
“SeedPod will bring new and established sector-specific support programmes together with purpose-built facilities under one roof to accelerate business growth. This approach will help businesses in the region to grow and the sector to innovate, generate value, and create jobs. The area already accounts for more than 20% of Scotland's food and drink output, so future growth is nationally significant. Food and drink innovation is also now an inward investment priority for the Scottish Government.
"Some of our region's most enterprising businesses are already at the forefront of technology adoption, product innovation and market development in food and drink. SeedPod will help more businesses to achieve their goals, be more productive and profitable, and be at the cutting edge of foods of the future market and consumer trends.
“Looking ahead, SeedPod is more important than ever. It is a driver of green economic recovery and will build on our regional strengths to achieve a more diversified economy," said Mr Machray.
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