Designing for Beautiful (“Instagrammable”), Wholesome and Nourishing Food with Atom Consultants

An unprecedented change is taking place in the way we live our lives- we are more technologically connected than ever, information travels at the click of the fingers, spreading ideas, facilitating learning and increasing awareness. We live in the world of bytes and interconnectivity, a global and temporary abode for both work and play and a change in value frameworks, which all drive the rapid dismantling of the old, industrial working model.

Millennials are leading a change towards sustainable investment, ethicality both towards the way the goods they choose to purchase were produced, as well as its impact to their health and the wellbeing of the people who produce those goods.

The much-quoted article by Amanda Harding from June 2018 about the 15 Totally Normal Things That Millennials Refuse to Buy bodes doom to Cereal manufacturers, big beer brands, fast food chains and the big weekly shops at wholesalers. What the hyper-aware, Instagram- inspired Millennials love instead, is fast casual dining, locally grown organic and natural produce, fermented and authentic eats, bold, ethnic and exciting flavours and pre-assembled ingredients for a fast cook at home.

Food Industry is not separate from the rest of the economy. Changing tastes require changes in the way food is produced, how it is sold and how the business in general is managed. Bold ideas require daring action plans, forward thinking designs and efficient production runs.

Atom Consultants ( has always been well ahead of the game. We implemented Building Information Modelling (BIM) more than 20 years ago and are revolutionising the design process through proprietary design automation scripts we have developed to further increase the speed and efficiency of the design process. We use drones to map out the physical location of existing and future premises, which are geolocated down to a high accuracy, allowing for 3D visualisation and augmented reality (AR) to arrive at optimal solution for your factory requirements.

We explore new technologies, such as vertical gardens, fully automated processing and wider concepts of most efficient, integrative practices to enable the client’s vision to be turned into a reality model which works both now, as well as in 5 years down the line, as even though the future is now, that now will only be here till the next shipment from Amazon.

But let’s go back to the beginning and explore where it all begun.

Atom’s Centre of Excellence for Food Processing is based in the UK, where Mr. Philip Thomson- CEO at Atom Consultants Edinburgh office, back in the 90s came up with the idea of Total Project Management®, while watching Barcelona play football.  The players had adapted the 2 key components of the idea of “total football”, which basically boils down to utilisation of space (make the space big when attacking and small when defending) and fluidity of positions. He took this concept and applied it to the way we manage our factory design through the principles of Total Project Management®- i.e. one team manages the project from concept to conclusion (one-stop-shop approach) and the fluidity and flexibility in the design to accommodate for future and /or the changing needs of the market. What it means is, that the way we play is by adopting:

The One Team Approach: Our team manages the project from concept to conclusion.

Strong core team of experts flanked on either side by specialist auxiliary teams

Integration of roles due to extensive experience and core in-house skills allow for rapid knowledge exchange to make things happen.

Open culture of free flow information exchange to achieve the client’s vision

Total oversight, control & management of the entire project- no unnecessary time delays due to vertical hierarchy.

The following story is not an anecdote and serves to illustrate the way building projects in UK are traditionally run. A company had hired a team to work on the build of a new factory. They are in fish processing, so one would assume that a refrigeration plant would be a crucial element of the design. The team included an architect, a cost consultant, an M& E engineer and a host of other experts, who when the money run out and the client asked to view the plans made, realised that the budget had been spent on fees, and there was no refrigeration plant to be found anywhere in the design.

Things like that simply wouldn’t happen at Atom, because at all times, our clients have a single source of contact, taking full responsibility for all aspects of the project.

We have evolved past empty words of “cost control” and “responsibility”. We don’t hide behind a corporate façade and leave you with a half-baked design. We are right there at the project “coalface”, working with you to help you to think beyond the tangible and every-day and ensure that you can keep up with the changing world by not only surviving but also thriving.

How do we do it? Having identified in the beginning of the article that information is key, we always start by getting to know our client. Many of our clients have been with us for the past 20 years, clients such as Brown Brothers in Kirkconnel and Mowi Scotland evolve with us, becoming more efficient and less wasteful along the way. With new clients we take our time, thoroughly researching their specific niche, looking at global trends and examining their internal company culture. You would not want to marry someone you don’t really know, hence our relationship with our clients isvery close and never a one-way street. First and foremost, we are curious about you and we want to help you to excel.

72% of all smoked salmon sold in the UK comes from a factory Atom Consultants have been involved in. Our clients are exploring land-based smolt production as well as seaweed processing to gradually move towards more sustainable and smarter practices. Gluten free, vegetarian or vegan factory? Been there, done that. Craft beer or perhaps an airport or a hospital? Yes, done that too, learned the lessons and ready to pass on the knowledge in your project.

Our European entity is based in highly technologically advanced E-Estonia- the inventor of Skype, e-elections and the world’s first e-residency programme. We do not worry about the Brexit as we know that no company is an island and together, we can achieve more. Our clients from Finland to Poland and the Middle East, learn as much from us we learn from them and help us to design for excellence wherever we go.

We know that the future holds a proliferation of functional foods- foods which make us smarter or happier or simply offer wholesome nourishment and taste and look good. The ancient yogic scriptures, such as Upanishads, which are much older than the Bible, recognised that “prana (life force/energy) is in food”, hence, as more and more people begin to question what offers them true nourishment, we better be ready or miss the train.

At the same time, we are in a constant motion, country-hopping, multi-tasking and micromanaging our lives, chasing goals from fitness to family to work. Our busy lives require flexible solutions. Pre-fabricated, but high in nutritional quality. Easy to eat on the go- yet trendy, colourful, divine smelling and functional. Perhaps today you need to produce 10 thousand pizzas, while tomorrow bake a batch of gluten free buns? Varying demand requires flexibility in design.

Food Safety is and will always remain a priority. We design both for safety as well as quality and this is an area where not a single corner is cut. Several of our factories have obtained the highest of BRC standards so you can rest assured that you are ready for those unannounced visits from your clients.

Maybe you want a mega factory, maybe you’re just a brewer starting off in kombucha production or looking to enter a market with an organic highland gin? Or do you want a vertical garden in your hotel lobby to grow herbs for your kitchen and please the senses of your visitors? An Atom office in Edinburgh, Leeds, Canterbury, Dornoch or Tallinn is never too far away for a phone call. Together we will shape the future and what better position to be in than to feed the world and watch the people in it flourish to their full potential.

To find out more please go to and select one of the offices nearest to you.

Or please contact us on:

Atom Consultants

Lupton Court
Prospect Road

Tel. +44 1924 282 000