A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Micro-Fresh's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Micro-Fresh is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Highlighting best practice
CEO ByronDixon OBE
Micro-Fresh is used in various
products for John Lewis
Imagine an ingredient brand like GORE-TEX or Lycra – something
that’s anti-odour, makes bedding fresher for longer, protects
you and your family from bacteria and can be safely washed
at low temperatures. Imagine then that such an ingredient has
already been incorporated into everything from home furnishings
and trainers to John Lewis baby and nursery bedding, and that
the company behind it has plans to see it incorporated into
plaster to combat mould in buildings. A dozen years on, Micro-
Fresh is the pioneering biotechnology company behind this
innovative ingredient which is achieving global interest. Director
Byron Dixon – a chemist recently awarded an OBE for his services
to industry and innovation – tells
The Parliamentary Review
his humble beginnings shaped the company’s vision and its
ambitious plans for future development.
A market leader
The growth of Micro-Fresh has been all about innovation and invention. Since
starting out in 2006, our anti-odour, anti-microbial freshness agent has been added
to the dyes used on shoes, bedding and textiles to provide added value for dozens
of globally-recognised retailers – selling millions of units in the process.
As an ingredient brand, one of the things we pride ourselves on is that, by
incorporating Micro-Fresh, retailers can enhance their product and provide tangible
value to the consumer. While being a trusted, go-to freshness brand for more
»CEO: ByronDixon OBE
»Established in 2006
»Based in Leicester
»Services: Biotechnology
»No. of employees: 85
»Micro-Fresh has 99.9 per cent
efficacy against E-coli, MRSA,
legionella and more
»Used by retailers such as John
Lewis & Partners, Debenhams,
Next and Matalan
than 50 vendors remains a core
business principle for us, we believe
that this is just the start – there are
so many possible applications for
the technology in various stages of
exploration andtesting.
Creating a healthier home
A big part of what drives our mission
statement is my background and
experiences. Growing up in a damp-
filled home on a council estate as one
of five children of a single parent,
science wasn’t an obvious route for
me to take, but through a love of
chemistry and a great teacher, I had
the belief to pursue it professionally.
After obtaining a degree in chemistry,
learning Danish, and receiving business
qualifications from the University of
Oxford, I developed a career that’s not
only taken me all over the world, but
driven me to really think about how
my knowledge and skills can affect
change. It’s from that place that the
technology behind Micro-Fresh was
born – and this is something that still
informs our brand mission of making
lives and surroundings fresher.
One of the current focuses for
this expansion is into the world of
construction and – more specifically
– plaster. Having come from social
housing and experienced the
consequences of damp and mould, I
quickly realised the potential of Micro-
Fresh could provide a much-needed
solution. This led to a partnership with
the University of Leicester where we
conducted research and developed
a product that not only tackles the
growth of mould effectively, but one
that can also be incorporated within
the plaster to create a composite
material that can be produced both
economically and at scale.
The result is two new iterations of
the Micro-Fresh formula – used as
a spray application for plasterboard
and an additive at the manufacturing
stage respectively. The potential is
also there for the formula to be added
into paints, making it an option not
just during construction, but also at a
retrofit stage.
With the research stage complete, we
are now approaching manufacturers
to find the best route to market,
with the hope that this new product
will become commercially available
over the coming year. Not only does
this illustrate the many potential
applications of Micro-Fresh, but it also
delivers on our goal of delivering a
healthier home for everyone.
Committing to sustainability
Sustainability is also a big part of
what we offer to retailers. One of the
recently developed forms of Micro-
Fresh has been designed to reduce
the use of single-use plastics. Retailers
are finding that while they want to
reduce plastic usage to engage with
consumers and prove the credentials
of their brand, they are wary of the
potential financial implications in an
already-competitive market.
This is the formula’s USP – as well as
negating the need for the stickers
or silica gel packets that are used
to keep products fresh in transit, it
lasts for the entire usable life of the The formula was first
created for shoes, but
is now used across a
variety of products
There are so
many possible
for the
technology in
various stages
of exploration
and testing
Highlighting best practice
product as it is applied directly in the
manufacturing process; this makes it
significantly more cost-effective and
reduces the waste sent to land-fill. By
using it as an alternative anti-mould
option, the retailers are committing to
a reduction in plastic use, which will
give their brand an edge while fulfilling
the environmental expectations
of discerning consumers at the
The road ahead
At the beginning, I just had a chemical
formula and an idea, but no real sense
of how this could be brought together
into something that would work as a
product. Over the last decade, I have
benefitted from developing a strong
sense of what makes the product
marketable – this has led it to progress
to where we are today.
These early years taught our team
the value of business acumen and
how it can really drive expansion. I
was fortunate enough to complete
the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small
Businesses Programme, which helped
to really examine and confirm how to
structure the business.
The programme emphasised the
importance of building a team with
complementary skills to accompany
our vision. We now employ a global
commercial director who is a biomedical
scientist, a brand director who was
a director of Saatchi & Saatchi for
24 years, and a COO that has come
from a £300 million retail business to
streamline globalprocesses.
This development process has paid
dividends; we featured under the Ones
to Watch section of the
Sunday Times
Fast Track 100 last year, and have been
the subject of detailed profile pieces in
The Times
and BBC News. We continue
to invest in collaboration, having
worked closely with Aston University to
benefit from the leading research and
development that takes place there.
This general innovative thrust was the
reason we won The National Award
for Innovation. Alongside our UK
headquarters in Leicester, we have
six other offices across Europe, North
America and Asia, all with passionate
local “agent advocates” that help our
products gain global recognition while
spreading word of what our brand
Retailers are
finding that while
they want to
reduce plastic
usage to engage
with consumers
and prove the
credentials of
their brand, they
are wary of the
potential financial
implications in an
Robert Jenrick MP (right)
visited the Micro-Fresh


This article was sponsored by Micro-Fresh. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy