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The Retail Institute

Leeds Beckett University’s Retail Institute is the UK’s only academic research centre that leads the consumer experiences of the future in retailing, food and packaging. Alongside our innovative research, we work with suppliers, brand owners and retailers to help support their future product, packaging and retail needs. We have a proven track record in working with commercial timescales and requirements, and our global network of experts are all specialists in their field; bringing academic integrity, impartiality and rigour to all their projects. 

Previously recognised for our research into innovative product packaging, we have since extended our knowledge and expertise range and are now able to offer research and specialists in many areas of interest to our client companies, from retail technologies to performance nutrition. The one thing that has not changed is that our experts provide a holistic approach to all our projects and they place the consumer at the heart of everything.

Retail and packaging

List of Services:

  • Consultancy
  • Research
  • Funding and grants
  • Training and development

Our Clients

The Retail Institute clients include:

  • DS Smith
  • ABF
  • P&G
  • Waitrose
  • Unilever
  • M&S
  • Ardagh Group
  • Fuji Seal

Since 2013, DS Smith and The Retail Institute’s relationship has gone from strength to strength. The Retail Institute has supported innovation at DS Smith through their understanding of the retail supply chain. Their expertise have helped DS Smith build business cases, search wider for materials using their vast networks and help to understand the implications of emerging technologies.

Mike Collins - Group Technical Director - European Paper and Packaging

Meet the Expert

Professor Cathy Barnes

Professor Cathy Barnes

Professor of Retail Innovation at Leeds Beckett University and Director of the Research Institute Cathy is fascinated by the consumer experience, from novel ideation techniques such as biomimetics to sensory design and particularly how we perceive the world through touch. Cathy’s extensive knowledge and understanding has proved invaluable to those clients who she has helped improve the consumer appeal of their packaging or products. Specialties: Design, innovation, product development, packaging, consumer insight, new technologies, biomimetics, technology transfer, knowledge transfer.


Go to The Retail Institute Right Arrow

The guys at The Retail Institute are a unique bunch in that they provide a new language for designing packaging for the future. Their multi-disciplinary approach, their enthusiasm, coupled with their strong science base allows them to translate fuzzy future trends into a powerful and clear design requirements for leaders in design to delve into. All round, an excellent package!

Brian Crombie