February 2018

Partnership between the Coconut Collaborative Ltd, LGC and STFC brings success to Innovate UK A4I Feasibility Project

Scientists at the National Measurement Laboratory (NML) at LGC have been working in partnership with the Coconut Collaborative Ltd (CCL), the market leading coconut yoghurt brand in the UK, and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) under the Innovate UK funded ‘Analysis for Innovators’ (A4I) programme.

The A4I programme provides companies with access to state-of-the-art measurement and analytical technologies through partnership with National Measurement Laboratories (LGC, NPL, NEL), the Science and Technology Facilities Council and Innovate UK.

Over the past 6 months, supply specialists, engineers and scientists from CCL, STFC and LGC have been assessing the feasibility of using Raman spectroscopy and multispectral imaging to detect traces of rancid coconut cream ahead of its use in the production of coconut yoghurt.

The quality control team at CCL are excited with the encouraging results of the project, which have effectively demonstrated proof of principle for using multispectral imaging as the basis for an enhanced level of quality control and screening in CCL’s manufacturing plants. This screening approach will avoid annual costs in excess of £500k through reduced production and material charges. In addition, the project has also highlighted the importance of developing a repeatable and systematic sample preparation and handling procedure, which will form the basis for future work.

“The A4I project collaboration has been incredibly valuable to the Coconut Collaborative Ltd”, says James Averdieck, Managing Director. “It has enabled us at a time when our core staff are stretched in supporting our strong organic growth, to work in a time efficient way with world class institutions and Scientists to develop and prove a principle for solving a very unique but real rancidity measurement problem. We are impressed with the encouraging results.”

Malcolm Burns, Principal Scientist, Molecular and Cell Biology, LGC, agreed, stating, “LGC is pleased to have been able to work closely alongside CCL and STFC to help provide novel measurement support to ensure the continued maintenance of CCL product quality while also significantly reducing production costs”. Tony Parker, STFC Fellow, is equally enthusiastic and adds, “This has been a great experience working with CCL and LGC, to be honest coconuts proved to be quite a tough nut to crack for us analytical chemists and I have learned a lot about the complexity of food and look forward to finding ways to continue our work”.