Posted 12 June 2014
Hands up who doesn’t eat farmed food, own a pet or go to the pub? Not many people, we’d bet. And that is exactly why the work of Harper Adams University matters to everyone.
Our world is your world. Our focus is on a secure, sustainable food supply, for not just the current population but future generations. We aim to help shape and support rural businesses, and continue to develop fresh, new talent for the agri-food industries that need it.
Through our animals and business courses, our remit widens beyond food, but still impacts on everyday lives. And the work is not just conducted by academic staff. Every student conducts a research project in their final year. Here’s a small sample of projects from the 2014 graduands, who are already thinking about how their careers – and their ideas - will benefit society.
Can microbreweries save our village pubs?
“My project title was ‘Possible business and market trajectories for new UK microbreweries’. This investigation was important not only to the occasional pub-goer but to society as a whole. The pub has formed a central hub to most villages and is highly-entwined in British history and culture. Against the backdrop of 11,000 pub closures since 2010, microbrewery numbers have climbed to more than 1,300 since 1970 from just 100. They are small businesses, many of which are dedicated to the revival of and support of what once was the Great British Pub.”
Robert Simpson, BSc (Hons) Rural Enterprise and Land Management
Market opportunities for UK-grown fruit
“My dissertation looked at the market opportunities for UK grown fruit. With rising issues surrounding sustainability, it focused on the impact supermarkets have, and whether this has had an influence on consumer perceptions. I concluded that customer would prefer to have access to more local produce with shorter supply chains, and do not mind if fruit is blemished or irregular. I believe it is an important topic given how much food is wasted as a result of tight specifications.
Anna Bird, BSc (Hons) Food, Nutrition and Well-being
Are obese dogs more likely to get dementia?
“I investigated whether obesity affected cognitive dysfunction - dementia - in dogs. This is really important to dog owners, because dogs are starting to live longer and signs of dementia are being recognised more often. This can cause a breakdown in the human-pet bond. Further investigation is required into methods to reduce cases of this disease, to help to educate pet owners and hopefully prevent this process occurring.”
Kayleigh Bale, BSc (Hons) Veterinary Nursing and Practice Management
Is offal was a viable human food stuff in the UK today?
“Meat demand is rising and while trying to meet this demand, the world's resources, such as water and land, are being put under immense strain. Offal could therefore be a more sustainable, higher nutritional alternative and use the entire animal with less waste. It also serves as a high-quality low-cost meat option for families on a tight food budget.
Heather Clarke, BSc (Hons) Food, Nutrition and Well-being
Raising awareness of plants poisonous to cats
“For my dissertation I researched the awareness of veterinary nurses and of pet owners of plants toxic to cats. I found that veterinary clients often did not know what actions to take if they suspected their cat had eaten something poisonous. I also found that veterinary nurses were unaware of the Veterinary Information Poison Information Service; a phone service that gives advice on poisonous substances. This topic is important because if appropriate treatment is not given, cats can die or be left with long-term problems including renal failure.”
Beth Chipperfield, BSc (Hons) Veterinary Nursing and Practice Management.
Creating a gluten-free alternative to a market-leading cake bar.
“For my Dissertation I developed a gluten-free angel slice cake bar based on an existing non-gluten-free market leader. In the UK there are more people being medically diagnosed with Coeliac Disease, as well as an increasing number of people who are choosing to follow the gluten-free diet as a lifestyle choice. Supermarkets have become more accepting towards this growing trend and now stock a range of gluten-free foods; however more variety is needed.”
Holly Jones, BSc (Hons) Food and Consumer Studies.