Sir Digby Jones, former director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, has given his support to Northern Foods’ £450,000 initiative to sponsor undergraduates on food science courses.

In a visit organised by Improve, the food and drink sector skills council, Sir Digby met food technologists at Fox’s Biscuits in Batley, which is part of Northern Foods.

He said: "This is an exemplary initiative, but we still need more employers to take responsibility for improving the skills of their own workforce."

The Northern Foods foundation will offer a grant of £1,000 a year, for at least five years, to 30 food science undergraduates at Leeds, Nottingham and Reading University.