Green light for build of ‘transformative’ food and drink innovation hub in Aberdeen

A £21 million facility focused on boosting the food and drink industry in the north of Scotland is to be built on the outskirts of Dundee.

It comes after planning approval was received for the build of the SeedPod hub, which will look to put the region’s businesses at the forefront of innovation, productivity and sustainability, increasing high-value exports and creating new jobs.

Led by Opportunity North East (ONE), the project is backed by the Aberdeen city deal, the UK Government, Scottish Government and ONE itself. The developers said that the hub will become the ‘go-to’ centre of excellence that will deliver the industry’s regional and national growth ambitions.

It is hoped that it inspires market-led innovation in products, manufacturing, processing and packaging and support skills and people development across the supply chain. It is also planned to provide specialist facilities for high-growth businesses to nurture their development.

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is a strategic partner in the project, with the SeedPod hub to be located on its Craibstone campus – ONE anticipates an opening date in 2022.

Patrick Machray OBE, chair of Food Hub (NES) Limited and vice-chair of Opportunity North East, said, “The project partners are delighted that SeedPod has received the necessary planning approval so that we can proceed at pace with final procurement and construction.

“Food and drink is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, turns over £2.2 billion in north east Scotland every year and already provides more than 22,000 jobs in the region. It is our largest industry after energy. Its growth is critical to our economic future as it can deliver more and higher-value jobs, increase exports of premium products to high-margin markets and play a key role in the drive to a low-carbon economy.

“SeedPod will be the sector’s go-to place to deliver business growth, create new employment and fast-track the next generation of entrepreneurial start-ups. Its facilities, programmes and the global consumer insights it will provide will make the region’s businesses leaders in foods of the future innovation, high-value manufacturing and low-carbon food production and support industry growth nationally.

The Scottish Government’s cabinet secretary for finance and economy, Kate Forbes, added, “The Scottish Government is a full partner in the Aberdeen city region city deal, contributing £125 million over 10 years. The investment in this project through the deal will contribute to the region’s economic recovery by creating jobs, and providing the commercial infrastructure to support and attract businesses to Aberdeen and the surrounding areas.

“Projects like SeedPod highlight the importance of this deal and demonstrates the ability to provide support to the north east food and drink industry and diversify the regional economy.”