Kepak invests €250,000 in food innovation partnership with TU Dublin

7 Dec, 2021

Kepak has invested €250,000 in a science-driven culinary innovation partnership with Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin) to establish a new research team focused on meat optimisation, sustainability, packaging, health, and nutrition.

The strategic partnership will see Kepak work closely on culinary innovation research in light of changing consumer trends and increased environmental awareness. A part-time PhD student, also a Kepak employee, will be solely dedicated to this cutting-edge food research for a duration of four years, with the team growing by one individual every year to a total of four PhD students. Using the state-of-the-art facilities in the Central Quad on the Grangegorman campus, including brand new food sensory labs, the collaboration will also facilitate consumer testing for food and protein concepts pre-development, as well as driving innovation from the primal meat stage of the product right through to the end product.

The partnership has also seen Kepak contribute to the University’s Transforming Tomorrow campaign, which has delivered a variety of facilities for Culinary Arts and Science students. The new campus, which opened in 2021, now boasts a state-of-the-art 150-seat lecture theatre and demonstration kitchen, two training restaurants, 11 teaching kitchens, two sensory labs, one food processing hall and 18 food science labs. Kepak’s donation in support of this trailblazing centre of excellence will help to deliver a world-class teaching and learning environment that will shape the next generation of leaders in the food sector.

Kepak’s commitment to TU Dublin underscores a long-standing relationship between the innovative food company and the University. Commenting on the €250,000 science-driven innovation partnership with TU Dublin, Kepak CEO Simon Walker said: “I am delighted that Kepak and TU Dublin have come together to create an unrivalled research partnership and world-class centre of food education excellence. The partnership underlines Kepak’s commitment to sustainability and innovation in food production in this ever-changing consumer environment and shows how we are leading the way for developing ground-breaking research that tackles the global challenges of climate change and food supply. In addition, it underlines our dedication to enhancing the education of the next generation of talent in the sector. I look forward to the positive results this partnership will bring and to working closely with the TU Dublin team.”

Kepak Director of Innovation, Elaine Bourke also added: “This new partnership demonstrates both Kepak and TU Dublin’s commitment to culinary science-driven innovation, as well as empowering the next generation of food leaders. As a leading food innovator, Kepak works hard to stay one step ahead of consumer trends and adapt to changing market demands, this new partnership with TU Dublin will form a key part of Kepak’s pioneering research in the areas of food nutrition and food sustainability. We look forward to putting our passion for food education and innovation into practice and working closely with the TU Dublin team.”

Welcoming the multi-year partnership with Kepak, President of Technological University Dublin, Professor David FitzPatrick, remarked: “A central pillar of the University’s strategic intent is sustainability, with TU Dublin researchers in culinary science working to find ecological solutions to global challenges such as waste reduction and food shortages. Kepak’s generous support of the University’s Transforming Tomorrow capital campaign is a contribution towards the cutting-edge facilities required by our researchers to develop innovative products that meet the consumer demand for food that is ethically and environmentally produced. Kepak’s donation is also contributing to the establishment of Ireland’s Centre of Excellence for Food and Drink in Ireland and the delivery of a 21st Century campus for practice-based learning and discovery.”