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Work starts on innovation hub for food and drink manufacturing

The £27m investment is aimed at driving innovation, productivity, profitability and sustainability.

Work to create ONE SeedPod - the innovation hub for Scotland’s food and drink industry - has started in Aberdeen, following the completion of the capital funding package and award of the construction contract.


Opportunity North East (ONE) is leading and delivering the Aberdeen City Region Deal innovation project to create the new space, facilities, programmes and an entrepreneurial environment on Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) Craibstone Campus.


ONE SeedPod is a £27m investment to enable manufacturing and production businesses to lead in innovation, productivity, sustainability and developing foods of the future.


Robertson Construction is the main contractor, with the hub scheduled to open in late 2024.


The project includes £10m of capital funding from the UK Government and Scottish Government via the Aberdeen City Region Deal – a partnership between the governments, ONE, Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council.


ONE has committed £5.4m and set up Food Hub to take the capital project forward. It also secured £3.1m for ONE SeedPod from the Just Transition Fund in 2022, while Scottish Enterprise has now confirmed £2m.


David Kilshaw, who chairs the Food Hub board, said: “The ONE SeedPod industry innovation hub will put food and drink businesses at the forefront of product and process innovation, low-carbon high-value manufacturing, as well as the development of premium markets for consumer-led foods of the future.


“The unique combination of commercial facilities, sector knowledge, insights and expert networks in ONE SeedPod will stimulate ambition, nurture the next generation of high-growth start-ups, and accelerate scale-up.”


Wellbeing Economy Secretary Neil Gray said: “The start of ONE SeedPod's construction is a major milestone in the Aberdeen City Region Deal.


“It is the result of strong regional partnership working, which draws on the strengths of different sectors, and aligns with the Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation.“


Andrew Lacey, vice principal for commercial at SRUC, said: “This innovative project opens the door to facilitate vital collaboration between business, research and education by sharing a campus location with SRUC, providing product development, demonstration and incubator facilities, as well as offering roles co-funded by project partners to support entrepreneurs and businesses.


“Ultimately, this united effort, which demonstrates a level of collaboration that SRUC aims to recreate in all areas across the agri-food sector, will support important strides towards innovation and sustainability within the food and drink industry.”


Stuart Common, managing director at Mackie's of Scotland, added: “North east Scotland produces more than 20% of Scotland’s food and drink output and is home to some of the industry’s most innovative and progressive businesses.


“ONE SeedPod is going to be a significant asset, enabling ambitious new start-ups to grow and established businesses to drive ahead with product and market development and process innovation.”


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