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Professor Ralph Early

Professor of Food Industry and Head of the Department of Food Science and Agri-Food Supply Chain Management, Harper Adams University

Professor Ralph Early


Ralph Early is a food scientist, food ethicist and university lecturer. He has taught in the university sector since 1993. During his career he worked initially as a farm labourer, then moved into food science and technology, gaining 18 years’ experience in food manufacture, product development, quality management and food safety management, with small and large food businesses.

In the 1970s he ran a farm-based organic yogurt business and subsequently was Head of Industrial Product Development, and then Quality Standards Manager, for Dairy Crest Ltd.

Since joining Harper Adams in 1996 he has worked to introduce food science and technology, and food policy and ethics, to the university’s curriculum, and to establish the department which he now leads.

During his career Ralph has been involved with many food industry committees and has worked consistently to support the industry, and to raise its profile as a source of graduate careers. To this end he created and is Director of the West Midlands Regional Food Academy, based at Harper Adams, and has realised over £4 million in funding for his food industry support projects.

He is a Chartered Scientist, Fellow of the Institute of Food Science and Technology, Fellow of the Institute of Meat and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. His publications include the books, Guide to Quality Management Systems for the Food Industry, and The Technology of Dairy Products. The focal points of his scholarly interests are food ethics, food security and sustainability, as well as the philosophy of science. Beyond this he enjoys cooking and amateur radio, amongst other things.