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.”