Macphie

Macphie case study picture

Background

Headquartered in Glenbervie near Stonehaven, Scotland, Macphie is the UK’s leading, independent, added-value food ingredients manufacturer, and has been producing premium quality food ingredients and solutions for customers across 40 countries for over 85 years.

 

Challenge

The company approached Interface to seek help in finding relevant academic collaborators to provide solutions to a range of challenges facing their business. These ranged from reducing saturated fat content and creating “cleaner label” products to rethinking their packaging and storage.
 

Solution

Interface has facilitated a series of collaborative projects with numerous Scottish Universities to support the business challenges.

Project areas have included:

  • Use of Ultrasound in thermal processing to control food structure
  • Mechanical Engineering projects on packaging and energy efficiency
  • Starch/ protein chemistry for surface modification
  • Stabilisation of food emulsions
  • Packaging and Manufacturing Process Optimisation
  • Chemical Engineering – UHT process flow characterisation and improvement
  • New packaging designs for sustainability and manufacturing efficiency improvement
  • Sugar reduction in key products

To date, Macphie has been involved in more than 15 individual collaborative research projects with multiple universities which have yielded cost savings to the business of many hundreds of thousands of pounds.
 

Business benefits

“Innovation is a cornerstone for Macphie, developing new technologies, products, processes and packaging to add value to our business and better meet our customer needs.

Macphie utilises Interface as a Scottish brokering service that brings businesses and universities together. Interface has facilitated a series of collaborative projects across a range of business requirements with Scottish universities. Using the Interface network, we have managed to completely accelerate our innovation agenda.

At Macphie we now have a rich heritage of academic projects across many aspects of our business. These translate into shaping and driving our innovation agenda. Interface is a crucial partner in enabling us to pair up with the very best academic organisations to achieve success. Our ongoing outlook is to continue to invest resources in long-term, transformational projects to ultimately add even greater value to our customer offering.” Martin Ruck, Macphie’s Head of Research and Development.

Academic benefits

Following a successful masters project with Abertay University on computer and web Enabled Food Product Evaluation System:

“Abertay has a specific interest in pursuing links with industry as part of the University’s Strategic Plan. The work with Macphie is an excellent example of how Abertay can be recognised for developing graduates equipped with the attributes and attitudes to contribute significantly to future economies. 

The work has also been conducive for developing pathways to impact, allowing Abertay to generate an excellent track record with respect to KE activities that generate further income and reputation for the University.”  Dr Nia White, Head of the Graduate School, Abertay University.

Interface also supported Macphie and the University of Edinburgh to develop and test a series of emulsions to use in a commercial setting. This led on to further studies on the role of fat crystallisation in the process of stabilizing emulsions and foams which enabled the company to increase the unsaturated fats in their products.

“It was very interesting for us to apply our expertise in the physics of emulsion technology to support a company developing healthier products.”
Dr Tiffany Wood, Director of the Edinburgh Complex Fluids Partnership, The University of Edinburgh.

Additional notes

Macphie have worked with the following Universities and Research Institutes: University of Edinburgh, Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Strathclyde, Heriot-Watt University, Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health at the University of Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University, Abertay University, Queen Margaret University.