Innovation in the Food Industry - The Emergence of Food Science Parks as Innovation Intermediaries: The Case of Agro Food Park

Johannes Martin Neft & Hedvig Karin Amanda Henrekson

Student thesis: Master thesis


Despite its size and importance, the food industry is characterized by being a low-tech sector with low innovation intensity compared to other industries. Given the competitive and fast-changing global environment, the need for more innovation in the food industry becomes apparent. Innovative environments where interactions and collaborations between entities are promoted and facilitated, have previously been identified as enablers for innovation, uncovering a need for initiatives promoting such activities. The following single case study on a Food Science Park in Denmark, called Agro Food Park, provides insights into such an innovation initiative. The study aims to develop a deeper understanding of how a Science Park geared towards the food industry affects the product innovation process of its tenants. Through an extensive literature review as well as empirical data collected from Agro Food Park, our study finds network building, facilitated by investigated park characteristics, to be the main advantage of residing in a Food Science Park. It allows the tenants to adopt a more external approach to innovation through access to industry networks, customers, collaborations, tacit knowledge, and other resources, that would have been difficult to acquire if the firms were located elsewhere. As a result, we find that the Science Park membership affects the development phase of the product innovation process most prominently. However, the level of impact is dependent on certain firm characteristics such as firm size or time elapsed since joining the park. Here, we support past literature that smaller firms benefit more from location within a Science Park than larger companies. Concluding, Science Parks, with a similar setup as Agro Food Park, are found to be an effective initiative for promoting innovation in the food industry.

EducationsMSocSc in Organisational Innovation and Entrepreneurship , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages254
SupervisorsMichael J. Mol