Centre to develop innovative food and drink products launched
New facilities at Edinburgh's Queen Margaret University include a dedicated microbiology laboratory.
A centre where experts can help Scotland's food and drink industry develop new and innovative products was launched on Tuesday.
The new facilities at Edinburgh's Queen Margaret University (QMU) include a dedicated microbiology laboratory, a fully-equipped sensory suite and a technology room to test the latest devices.
More than 100 people from across the country's food and drink industry were given a tour of the Scottish Centre for Food Development and Innovation during its official launch.
Bosses believe it will enhance Scotland's position as a "leader in food and drink innovation" in Europe.
Dr Jane McKenzie, academic lead for food and drink knowledge exchange at QMU, said they were excited to have reached a "significant milestone" in opening the new centre.
She said: "Facilities like this are currently unavailable elsewhere in Scotland, so research work is often sent to England or Northern Ireland instead.
"The new facilities combined with QMU's academic knowledge and expertise in food, nutrition and biological sciences is already offering companies in Scotland's food and drink industry an unrivalled opportunity to innovate and develop new products which are underpinned by QMU's scientific research."
James Withers, chief executive officer of industry body Scotland Food and Drink, said: "Relationships between the industry and Scotland's universities are critical.
"My ambition is that this new centre will provide producers with intelligence and support, to help them create exciting new products and in turn find new customers.
"With Scottish food and drink exports up 50% since 2007 and sales within the UK up by more than a third, we have real momentum.
"But competition is always fierce so innovation will be fundamental to staying ahead of the pack."