The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has set out shared priorities for researchers and the food manufacturing industry, in order to plug the gap between basic and applied research.

It is one of several actions that the association has identified as necessary for the sector to grow sustainably by 20% by 2020, which are highlighted in its new ‘Delivering Sustainable Growth Through Innovation’ vision.

Ten long-term priority innovation areas have been identified and, from these, three “vital, overarching ambitions” have been set out by the FDF.

These include: improving knowledge transfer; ensuring that the sector has the technical skills required to compete globally and attract inward investment; and the creation of a multi-disciplinary, strategically focused approach to deliver integrated solutions.

Owen Paterson, secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, said: “I’m extremely proud of the UK’s food and drink industry and fully support the FDF’s Innovation Vision. I want to see the industry build on its success and become a global leader in developing new technologies.

“That’s why I’m working closely with farmers, manufacturers and retailers across the whole food sector to make it easier for businesses to grow both in the UK and abroad.”