East Malling Research is to expand its brief from being a centre of excellence for fruit culture to providing the industry with a “total fruit service”.
Under plans being drawn up, its remit would stretch as far as researching what consumers wanted in terms of taste and nutritional information. Chief executive Colin Gutteridge said the centre’s role should extend to providing post-harvest information on tropical fruit and flowers, as well as looking at packaging and logistics.
The expansion is intended to generate funds to replace East Malling’s £2.25m annual funding from Defra, which will be reduced and then withdrawn over the next six years.