When it comes to Food R&D, the food and drink production industry within the UK is one that has multiple areas of contribution to the UK economy. According to the 2021 UK Food Security Report, about 54% of food on plates was produced within the UK, with the remaining 46% being imported. The UK also exports a considerable amount of food, feed, and drink (FFD), with £21.4billion worth exported in 2021. As an essential industry to everyday life in the UK, food and drink production is required to be constantly on the hunt for new innovations that address the ever-changing demands within the market.
What is the Food and Drink Production sector?
The food and drink production industry is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, and forms part of a diverse and complex supply chain. The sector encompasses a number of industries that all contribute to the supply chain, examples such as slaughterhouses, meat, poultry and fish processing, grain mills, maltings, bakeries, soft drinks, beer and cider production, wines, and farming. These smaller industries all have within themselves their own challenges and demands, which requires food R&D in order to help their industries keep up with demand.
What is R&D within Food and Drink Production?
As previously mentioned, the industry is rife for food R&D, with several factors each contributing to a necessity for innovations. Some examples of the factors that drive R&D in the industry include:
- Ethical Trends: Within the last decade or so, we have seen a rising demand for environmentally friendly solutions to challenges posed by consumers, such as vegan alternatives and recyclable packaging for products
- Regulatory changes: In order to promote healthier products on the market, the government has introduced regulation such as the sugar tax that came into effect in 2016. R&D was vital in developing new recipes to meet this regulation.
- Supply chain processes: Increasing demand for certain food and drink can result in improved machinery, to meet this demand. Other demands such as waste reduction also relies on food R&D to find solutions to these challenges.
Many significant innovations have been found through R&D in response to the varied challenges faced in the industry. Here are some innovations within the food and drink production industry:
- Free from ranges of certain products
- Plant based alternatives to popular food items
- Self-packaging machinery to speed up factory stage of production
- Significant improvements to the shelf life of products in order to reduce wastage
- Reformulation of recipes in order to meet regulatory demands
How R&D tax credits can help your company
There are many benefits to be gained from the R&D tax credit scheme, however you may be curious about how your own company can be eligible.
There are many stages throughout an R&D project, which each involve varied activities that may or may not be eligible towards your claim. Some expenditure within food and drink produciton that are eligible for tax relief include:
- Building and testing of prototype models that contribute to the final product, such as test version of food and drink products
- Salaries of staff who directly worked on the project, such as technical design staff and recipe curators
- Any training costs for staff required to work on the project
Whether your company is big or small, the benefits can be significant. The tax credits can help make future R&D projects become more affordable, whilst providing a budget boost to be used in other areas, such as the hiring of staff that can help grow your future.
The next step
Our team at Kirby and Haslam are specialists when it comes to R&D tax relief. If you feel like your company could be eligible for R&D tax credits, then do not hesitate to enquire – our team of experts will help you along every stage in the process.