Knowledge Innovation Technology Exchange (KITE) programme in the Welsh SME food sector

Knowledge Innovation Technology Exchange (KITE) programme in the Welsh SME food sector


Case study by Cardiff Metropolitan University

The KITE (Knowledge Innovation Technology Exchange) Project was started in 2009 and is funded by the EU and Welsh Government and facilitates a proactive partnership between Welsh Based food SMEs, affiliates (graduates/individuals with industry experience) and Welsh Food Centres (Zero2Five Food Industry Centre, Cardiff Metropolitan University and Food Technology Centre, Coleg Menai).

The programme focuses on developing companies’ technical expertise towards growing their food and drink based businesses. The companies working with the University are varied: we have worked with suet manufacturers, soup makers, and confectioners.

The projects and benefits for business range as well. One example of how KITE assists companies are programmes to help them reach British Retail Consortium (BRC) or Safe and Local Supplier (SALSA) standards. Gaining these accreditations by ensuring quality control allows food companies to sell to new suppliers, such as supermarkets or international suppliers. We’ve helped over 30 food businesses achieve this goal to unlock additional income.

The bank of knowledge and expertise that exists within the programme is a highly beneficial and profitable resource for Welsh-based SME food companies to exploit for their own economic success. Through the dissemination of this knowledge via the KITE programme, the centres help clients achieve measurable outputs and clear financal, environmental and skill-based benefits. For example, launching new products for retail markets.

KITE experts are involved in the new product development process, with 580 new products successfully launched as a result of collaboration. Another benefit for many companies of successful knowledge exchange is increasing operational & supply chain efficiency. KITE consultancy and advice has led to 72 new technical systems being implemented. KITE’s primary aim was to increase sales of Welshbased food products by £10m by 2014.

This goal has already been exceeded, with increased sales of Welsh produce reaching £12m by 2012, £56m by 2014 and staggeringly £80m by 2015. In addition to increased sales, directly through the 39 KITE programmes hundreds of jobs have been created and protected: 58.6 new Quality Assurance jobs, 443 new manufacturing roles and the safeguarding of 797 existing jobs.

The KITE programme has relied heavily on cooperation with all of its SME partners, as well as with the Welsh Government and EU  unders to make the programme the success it is today. The University maintains excellent working relationships with all the SMEs involved in the KITE programme, often with multiple projects in one organisation running simultaneously to help meet demands from the growing sales and larger workforce.

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