The food and beverage sector is the single largest manufacturing sector in the UK with a sector investment of over £350M in R&D (source: BERD 2013). As a sector, it is driven by consumer trends, environmental responsibility including sustainability and traceability of ingredients; and recently reformulation for healthier eating. Key areas for R&D opportunities lie in the development of a new product which includes new combinations of ingredients not previously trialled; development of ‘me-too’ products; and appreciable improvements in shelf life, nutritional values or throughput. R&D can be eligible through product development; scale-up to commercialisation; and associated engineering and packaging.

Examples of eligible R&D activities:

  • Developing a totally new product and/or packaging;
  • Designing, developing and / or improving manufacturing technology and processes;
  • Reducing the risk of spoilage / waste / contamination;
  • Changing the properties of drink or foodstuff for health reasons whilst maintaining same taste / appearance / smell / texture;
  • Modifying either the formulation or process of a product to enhance its shelf life appreciably;
  • Developing the process to achieve consistent distribution of particles through a liquid product, whilst still meeting nutritional and clean-declaration requirements;
  • Extending knowledge on the effect on appearance and organoleptic properties of product over life when exposed to different lighting with different packaging;
  • Extending knowledge on the effect of different fermentation dough techniques on bread crust shelf life;
  • Improving systems of e-business, e-ordering or e-logistics;
  • Resolving technical problems with production processes due to seasonal variation;
  • Introducing new or improved production techniques which significantly increase the speed of production.