Scope of the online library

The OpenFields content has now been migrated to its successor website, Food and Farming Futures

Food and drink

Food and drink is the UK's largest manufacturing sector, with manufacturers and suppliers concerned to reduce the impact of their production on the environment and play a full part in improving the nation's health. Manufacturers have built well-known brands and developed new techniques, processes and products to respond to consumer demands for greater convenience, longer shelf-life and increasingly healthy products.

  • Local & regional food
    • An increasing desire for greater awareness of the origins, freshness and traceability of the food and drink which we buy has resulted in consumer appreciation of food miles and the purchasing of more and more local and regional produce. This offers a unique opportunity to food and drink retailers, and there is a growing body of research available on consumer perceptions of local and regional food, where they like to buy it and why they buy it.
    • Resources to inform and educate producers and retailers in what consumers are seeking, how they can go about addressing the issues that currently restrict the purchase of locally and regionally sourced produce, and how multiples, convenience stores and independent retailers may make the most of the opportunity which this consumer demand offers.
  • Food hygiene
    • Maintaining good food hygiene practices and compliance with food hygiene legislation is a necessity for all food businesses, including caterers, primary producers (such as farmers), manufacturers and retailers.
    • Resources span a range of materials on food hygiene principles, practices, research and legislation.
  • Food & health
    • The relationship between diet and health is now widely recognised. Food quality, composition, availability and cost have a direct effect upon the health profile of many communities.
    • Resources include materials on how diets, foods and food components affect human health. The scope includes diet composition, functional foods, food supplements and medicinal plants used by consumers, and the provision of evidence to support health claims. Other materials indicate how production methods affect the quality of foods, food supplements and herbal medicines. This includes primary production (agriculture), processing, storage, quality control/standardisation, safety assurance, national policy issues, etc.
  • Drinks & juices
    • Resources on preparation, production and consumption of drinks, beverages, crushes, cordials and juices, (i.e. liquids which are specifically prepared for human consumption), of possible interest to producers, processors, packers, extractors, brokers, marketers and consumers alike.
  • Milk & dairy products
    • The milk and dairy food products section in the Openfields library contains liquid milk, yogurts and chilled desserts, yellow fats (butter and spreads), cream, fromage frais, milkshakes, cheese (- both hard cheeses and soft cheeses). These foods contain protein and calcium and some vitamins including vitamin B12, vitamin A and vitamin D.
    • Liquid milk accounts for the greatest share of sales in the total market and is considered to be a household basic for most. The sector is still developing new products, with health remaining a major driver. As consumers take a progressively greater interest in product provenance, attention has become focused on organic and regional products. While semi-skimmed products are the most popular, the choice is growing and local, organic and fortified milks are offering a greater level of product differentiation and adding value to the market in the face of generally declining sales volumes.
  • Meat & processed meats
    • The increasing application of technology to the procurement, manufacture and distribution of meat has provided a range of fresh, frozen and processed meat products of increasing variety and quality. The major traditionally acceptable meat species are cattle, sheep, and pigs and poultry. A group of increasing interest is game, i.e. venison, hares and wild birds. Goat meat is important in southern Europe and so is rabbit in Britain and Ireland.
  • Poultry products
    • Over recent decades, the poultry industry has grown and specialised into meat production and egg production breeds. It has also become increasingly common to find poultry raising operations specialising in a single phase of the growing process, e.g. breeding, hatching or meat production. Much emphasis is now put on food safety and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) programmes.
  • Food development technologies
    • Developing a new food product is similar in many ways to developing a new product of any kind, and each stage in the modern development cycle has become progressively more technology dependent. For most new foods there are a series of key stages in the development of the new product: briefing; market research; design specification; concept screening (or prototyping); sensory evaluation; commercial viability assessment; modifications; first manufacturing; sampling trial products; and eventually, the final product launch.
  • Food processing technologies
    • Technologoes involved in the transformation of raw ingredients, by physical or chemical means into food, or of food into other forms. Food processing combines raw food ingredients to produce marketable food products that can be easily prepared and served by the consumer.
  • Organic food & drink
    • How do you ensure that food and drink ingredients sold as 'organic' are indeed such? Organic ingredients must be produced according to European laws on organic production. In many instances, products are often sold with some form of accreditation confirming their organic status. There are now an increasing number of specialist retailers who sell organically certified products online - delivering to homes throughout the UK.
  • Food & drink supply chains
    • The catering and food retail industries each provide important routes for the purchase and consumption of food and drink by the consumer, either through a hospitality operation, or in the home. The boundaries between the catering and food retail supply chain have become increasingly indistinct, as the shopping and eating patterns of consumers change.
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About this National Initiative

The OpenFields Library is a free online library containing items of interest to practitioners and researchers in the agricultural and landbased industries. It is now a component part of Food and Farming Futures.