Broadland: Topping out at the Food Innovation Centre

Broadland Food Innovation Centre topping out ceremony

In April a ceremony was held to celebrate the topping out of the Broadland Food Innovation Centre (BFIC) in Honingham.

In April a ceremony was held to celebrate the topping out of the Broadland Food Innovation Centre (BFIC) in Honingham.

Councillors from Broadland District Council were joined by partners from New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, Hethel Innovation and University of East Anglia.

Council Leader, Councillor Shaun Vincent said:

“This exciting project has taken an important step towards completion and we are looking forward to welcoming our first tenants in the summer. Broadland District Council is committed to supporting the local economy and the BFIC will become a centre of excellence providing the perfect environment for businesses to grow and realise their full potential.”

The Broadland Food Innovation Centre is part of a project designed to support and fast-track the growth and success of food and drink businesses across Norfolk and Suffolk.

The project underpins Broadland District Council’s ambition to provide the best environment for business growth by providing bespoke units with wrap-around services that will help food businesses in the region grow and develop.

The Centre will offer 13 food-grade incubation units, two test kitchens, a sensory kitchen, meeting rooms and state of the art conferencing facilities.

There has already been significant interest from food companies seeking to move into the Centre. The build is on schedule and tenants will be able to start moving in from this August, with full opening in autumn. The project team continues to welcome enquiries from potential tenants.

Food sector companies can already benefit from fully-funded Innovation Support worth £250,000 subject to eligibility, and join the free Food Innovation Cluster. Both services are coordinated respectively by Hethel Innovation and the University of East Anglia.

Tenants will benefit from being in an optimum environment alongside other food businesses, all accessing bespoke innovation support, with membership of the newly-formed food and drink cluster. Tenants will also have access to research and development being carried out at the Norwich Research Park.

Businesses interested in the facilities at the Broadland Food Innovation Centre should contact Nick Dunn at Brown & Co via


“This centre will provide bespoke innovation support to food businesses across the region and establish a regional food and drink innovation cluster which will add value by significantly increasing the amount of local produce that is processed locally. It will also enable ground-breaking collaborations with the world-leading research institutions at Norwich Research Park, which are making a leading contribution to addressing the challenges of food and energy security, health ageing and environmental change.”
C-J Green, Chair of New Anglia LEP

“The Broadland Food Innovation Centre will have a hugely positive impact on the local food and drink economy, providing vital spaces for businesses to create a collaborative community and innovate.  It will be the focal point for a wider cluster, pulling in the world-leading knowledge and research in our region, and capitalising on our ability to commercialise this into successful products and processes.  It is lovely to see the centre taking shape and seeing the fantastic work Willmott Dixon are putting into the build.  I can’t wait to be back here opening the centre!”
Alice Reeve, CEO, Hethel Innovation

“I am thrilled to see how far the building has progressed and to think about how the Centre will work with the Innovation Support and Food Innovation Cluster to support the thriving community of exciting and diverse food and drink producers in our region. UEA’s world-leading research, knowledge exchange expertise, and highly skilled students and graduates are already benefiting many businesses in this important sector, and I look forward to continuing to work with them and our stakeholders and partners to consolidate Norfolk and Suffolk as a place of innovation and economic growth.”
Prof Fiona Lettice, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, UEA

Funding information

The project has received £5.7 m of funding from the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

The Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.

This project is supported by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, which has contributed £4.14m - £2.7m from the HM Government Getting Building Fund and £1.44m from the New Anglia LEP Growing Places Fund.

The balance of funds and resources come from Broadland District Council, the University of East Anglia and Hethel Innovation, along with support from City College Norwich and Quadram Institute.  

Services information

Food and drink businesses can apply for innovation support coordinated by Hethel Innovation. Eligible businesses will receive bespoke insight and guidance on:

  • business planning
  • market and customer trends
  • new product development
  • implementing new technologies and systems
  • accessing financial support (grants and investment)

The cluster, managed by the University of East Anglia, is welcoming members now. This cluster will bring together research, academia, supply, production, the food and drink community, charities, government, and finance. Businesses will have access to:

  • private networking events
  • workshops led by industry experts
  • network of researchers and technical experts
  • conferences and events
  • online community

To explore the opportunities presented by Innovation Support and the Cluster please start here or email or

Published: 4 May 2022