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17th June 2019  Content supplied by: Campden BRI

Campden BRI Celebrates 100 Years

Campden BRI, one of the world’s most respected food research and science organisations, is 100 years old this year. To mark the occasion, the Annual Campden Lecture was delivered by Tesco and Danone, who also celebrate their centenaries this year. Five hundred delegates from across the food and drink industry attended the annual Campden BRI Day conference to hear its chief executive, Steven Walker, together with Tesco group quality director Sarah Bradbury, and Danone vice president quality EDP, John Carter, speak on the past, present and future of the food industry.

Campden BRI’s beginnings go back to the First World War, when the UK government wanted to develop ways of preserving food to ensure food security in times of conflict. A milling facility for pheasant feed, next to Chipping Campden railway station, was chosen as the base for this critical endeavour as it was located in the Vale of Evesham, a major area of fruit and vegetable production.

The war ended before the facility was established, but the project continued, and the Campden Experimental Factory came into being in 1919. It started off developing canned food processes and over the years its work spread into all areas of food production including scientific, technical and consumer research and testing. Today, as Campden BRI, it is the world’s largest independent membership-based food and drink research organisation, serving food and drinks companies across the world. It currently has over 2,500 member companies from 80 countries, including all of the top 10 UK retailers, the top 15 global food and drink manufacturers, and many of the world’s biggest brands.

On the centenary, Campden BRI chief executive Steven Walker, said: “Since the early days of canning and freezing food we have grown and diversified and are proud to be the world leader in scientific and technical research for the food industry. Many of our members and clients are household names. Key to Campden BRI’s success is that our work is directed by the industry. ‘With industry for industry’ is our motto so we’re continually working on issues and areas that make a valuable contribution to the sector. I’m proud to lead a great team which is looking forward to being at the centre of the industry for the next 100 years.”

John Carter, Danone; Steven Walker, Campden BRI; Alec Kyriakides, Sainsbury’s and chair of Campden BRI; and Sarah Bradbury, Tesco.

John Carter, Danone; Steven Walker, Campden BRI; Alec Kyriakides, Sainsbury’s and chair of Campden BRI; and Sarah Bradbury, Tesco.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: – a more detailed history of Campden BRI

The First World War

During the First World War the UK government was looking for methods to preserve foodstuffs to ensure food security in times of conflict. As the Vale of Evesham was a major area for fruit and vegetable production, a pheasant feed milling facility by Chipping Campden railway station was selected as a base for two scientists from the University of Bristol to investigate options. The war ended before the building had been secured, but the project continued, and the Campden Experimental Factory came into being in 1919.

How it all began


It all started with canning

Canning was deemed to be the most suitable method for preserving food, and for the next 30 years most of the pioneering scientific studies that led to the now well-established UK canned food industry were performed at the site. Direct government funding was supplemented by industry contributions.

Around this time, work began into frozen food production, and in the 1960s expanded rapidly into all areas of food and drink processing and preservation, including all the back-up services such as chemical and microbiological analysis, fruit and vegetable variety trials, packaging considerations, consumer and sensory studies, hygienic design of facilities and equipment, publishing of guidance documents and training of food industry staff.


Subsequent mergers brought this expertise together with expertise in milling and baking (through the Flour Milling and Baking Research Association, in 1995) and alcoholic drinks (through Brewing Research International, in 2008). Campden BRI now has 400 staff in the UK, a Hungarian subsidiary and an office in South Korea, and performs work for companies throughout the world. In the UK, its headquarters is in Chipping Campden, with its alcoholic drinks focus in Nutfield, and a consumer centre in Leamington Spa. Collectively its facilities include three fully equipped food processing halls, milling and bakery pilot plant, pilot plant facilities for malting and brewing, product and process development facilities, a leading-edge sensory analysis suite, and extensive research and analytical laboratories covering microbiology, hygiene, chemistry, biochemistry and microscopy.

It's remit is to provide the food and drink industry with the research, technical and advisory services it needs to ensure product safety and quality, process efficiency and product and process innovation.

With industry, for industry

It's research and development programme is chosen by and reflects the needs of its industrial members. This is achieved with close working relationships with industry through frequent meetings of its 12 member interest groups. The first industry groups were set up in 1952.

Campden BRI also undertakes contract research and development work on behalf of UK government departments, levy boards, industrial consortia and the European Union. Consultancy work is also carried out under aid-funded programmes for countries with developing market economies.

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Date Published: 17th June 2019

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