During the first visit of its kind, Cardiff Metropolitan University recently welcomed Hu Chunhua, Vice-Premier of the People’s Republic of China along with other senior politicians and VIPs from the People’s Republic of China and Welsh Government.

His Excellency and other senior politicians and VIPs spent an hour visiting Cardiff Met’s world-leading ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre to find out more about the Centre’s work in the fields of food safety and production as well as the Perceptual Experience Lab (PEL).

The ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre has been supporting the Welsh food manufacturing sector for 25 years, notably in food safety and waste reduction, through the £21 million Food Innovation Wales’ Project HELIX programme, which is funded by the Welsh Government Regional Development Plan.

The delegation also included Eluned Morgan AM, the Welsh Government’s Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language, Mr Nishi Dholakia, Minister-Counsellor Economic and Trade Policy, British Embassy Beijing and Chair of the Board of Governors, Ilora Finlay, Baroness Finlay of Llandaff.

Speaking about the event, Professor Aitchison, president and vice-chancellor of Cardiff Metropolitan University, said: “We are delighted to welcome Vice-Premier Hu and his colleagues to Cardiff Metropolitan University given our strong links with China. We are very proud of the work of our ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre and this visit is further recognition that the Centre’s work is scalable and transferable internationally.

“The future of higher education depends on collaboration and the sharing of expertise. With more than 400 Chinese students enrolled on Cardiff Met programmes, we enjoy fruitful partnerships with China that we are keen to grow, and this visit marks an important milestone in that development.”

Cardiff Met’s Llandaff campus was chosen as part of Vice-Premier Hu’s wider trade mission to the UK, exploring closer strategic and economic partnerships between China and the UK, and specifically examining the Welsh food and drink industry.

Professor David Lloyd, director of ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre, said: “It’s a great honour to welcome the Vice-Premier of China to ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre and share our expertise in food safety management, waste reduction and knowledge transfer partnerships.

“We work with around 150 Welsh companies each year so it’s a privilege to showcase Wales’ vibrant food and drink industry and our triple helix approach to collaborating with Welsh Government and industry partners.

“It is a great opportunity to showcase our work through demonstrations of new product development, thermal profiling and the role of pH and available water in food safety and product shelf life.”

Mr Hu is one of the most senior Chinese leaders to visit Wales since the then Chinese Vice-Premier Liu Yandong visited former First Minister Carwyn Jones in 2015. Food science technology and agriculture are areas under Mr Hu’s remit and food production and security are key objectives of the Chinese government.

Eluned Morgan AM, the Welsh Government’s Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language said: “Wales is leading the way in food safety and security training. I’m really pleased the Vice Premier has had the opportunity to visit the Zero2Five Food Innovation Centre today, which is just one example of the academic research and expertise that Wales has to offer China, and in particular Chinese students.”

During his UK visit, Vice-Premier Hu attended the annual UK-China Financial Forum, where he addressed delegates on the opportunities that China’s increasing economic and financial importance presents to both countries to generate jobs and growth.