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University centre of food excellence strengthens partnership with global company

University of Chester Cheshire West and Chester Skills 16/02/2021

University of Chester extends partnership with Danone

Teams at the University of Chester’s centre of excellence supporting food businesses and a leading global food and beverage company have overcome the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic to strengthen their work together.

A new contract has been signed between the University’s NoWFOOD (North West Food Research Development Centre) and Danone.

The signing marks the beginning of their fourth Sensory Evaluation contract, ensuring the quality of products.

A fully trained panel of super tasters work specifically on the popular brand’s medical food products, led by NoWFOOD’s Sensory Panel Leader Shirley Lang and Consultant Sensory Expert Jane Clark.

The step forward in the working relationship is no mean feat after COVID-19 disrupted existing systems.

However, NoWFOOD and Danone teams were in regular contact to devise a way ahead.

The teams adapted to ensure risk assessments and processes were reviewed, and moved in line with UK Government and University of Chester Work Safety Team advice, waiting for the right time to renew the contract.

COVID-safety measures were put in place for all users of the building, at the Exton Park site on Parkgate Road, Chester, and work was carried out to ensure sensory panels could be run in a COVID-safe way.

The changes to the way panels were run included having a reduced number of people on the panel at any one time, socially-distanced activity, movement restrictions, revised instructions for panellists, and providing reassurance to them.

The sensory panels for the new contract began towards the end of 2020, including virtual sessions with the panellists to bring them up to speed on the new rules and processes, who were excited to start again.

Jeff George, Asset Manager at NoWFOOD, said: “The year 2020 and this year have been very different, but we are confident the mutual respect and dedication between the two teams, ensures we safely deliver on the quality requirements through this COVID-19 period and will lead to us doing even more business together in the future.”

Neil Ambage, Sensory SPOC (Single Point of Contact) for Allergy, Metabolics and Epilepsy at Danone said:We are delighted to be working with the NoWFOOD trained panel at the University of Chester.

“I am proud of the work we have done together with Jeff, Jane and Shirley to ensure the safety of all parties, whilst maintaining the quality of our results. I look forward to a long and successful future working together.”

NoWFOOD offers a comprehensive package of support for established food and drink manufacturers as well as help to nurture young food businesses. For further information please visit:

Danone is dedicated to bringing health through food to as many people as possible, and is built on four businesses: Essential Dairy and Plant-Based Products, Waters, Early Life Nutrition and Medical Nutrition. To find out more, go to: