Around 40 students and staff from the Netherlands and Nova Scotia visited Macphie in Aberdeenshire on Tuesday (September 19) to find out about the food industry in the region.
The visit to the UK’s leading independent food ingredient manufacturer was part of a week-long orientation and study tour by the International Food Business students, which this year is being held in Scotland.
Co-ordinator Heather-Anne Grant said: “The primary objective of the visit is to expose our students to a vital component of the food value chain that many of them don’t normally think of - the ingredients supplier.
“While we’re in Scotland we are introducing students to the tasks in their first term assignment where they are required to map out the value chain for the cereals sector in select countries.
“Each year we change the commodity of focus and we thought that operations at Macphie complemented this year’s cereals theme very nicely.”
International Food Business is a joint programme offered by Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia in Canada and its partner Aeres University in the Netherlands.
The four-year “dual degree” programme emphasises its international focus with the one-week tour early in the first semester, where students from both universities get to know one another while exploring the local food industry.
As well as a tour of the site, the students heard from Macphie’s Senior Research & Development Manager Paul McKnight about innovations in barley technology, the UK’s second largest cereal crop and a key focus in one of Macphie’s current research projects.
They also sampled a variety of the company’s products that won the company the Manufacturer of the Year title in the baking industry awards held earlier this month.
Mr McKnight said: “It is fascinating to meet the next generation of food scientists and agronomists and be able to give them some insight into the differences that research is making in food technology.
“For example, this single project into barley research and development we talked about has the potential to create 3,500 extra jobs and add £750million in economic value.
“Most of the students were visiting Scotland for the first time, and their enthusiasm and curiosity showed the value of promoting our country as a hub of innovation and excellence in food science.”