Ten East Midlands food and drink companies have been awarded a share of £37,500 to support their innovation projects for products and processes.
The funding will come from the Food and Drink iNet (innovation network), an organisation created by the East Midlands Development Agency (emda) and East Midlands Innovation the regional science and industry council. The European Regional Development Fund has also lent its backing to the scheme.
The food and drink iNet is one of four such networks created by emda. Others service the healthcare and bioscience, sustainable construction and transport industries.
The ten firms to benefit from the funding have committed to matching the iNet contribution with their own funds. The money is to be dedicated to projects in new product development and production process innovation.
Food and Drink iNet director Richard Worrall commented on the funding allocations: “It is crucial that companies continue to think and work innovatively, both for their own futures and to ensure that the food and drink sector in the East Midlands continues to develop and thrive.”
The funding recipients will be advised on how to spend the cash wisely by specialist consultants and academics working across Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Rutland.
According to recent research from the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) at Cambridge University the food and drink sector accounts for 15% of the UK’s manufacturing turnover and employment. It also represents 4% of the annual R&D spend by businesses in the UK. IfM estimates that 1,500 new products are launched by the sector every quarter.
The firms to receive the iNet innovation funding are as follows:
Coffee company Shelton Imports, from Kibworth, has been awarded £5,600 to help develop, re-brand and launch its chocolate-coated coffee beans.
Yum Baby Ltd, from Leicester, has been awarded £3,250 to develop an ambient range of organic, halal baby foods to go alongside its frozen range.
Ghar Ka Khana, of Edwalton, has been awarded £3,375 to help develop a branding and marketing strategy to enable the firm to access new markets.
Miss Will’s Pickles, from Nottingham, has been awarded £2,000 for new product development to extend the existing range.
Lindhurst Engineering, from Sutton-in-Ashfield, has been awarded £10,000 to develop further a compact design waste baler suitable for the food and drink sector, which crushes paper, plastic and cardboard, and uses less energy than existing models.
Food importer and wholesaler Asiana Ltd, from Nottingham, has been awarded £2,750 to develop a new drink for the UK market that’s popular in south east Asia.
Potato and vegetable supplier AB Produce Ltd, based at Measham, has been awarded £1,900 to work with the University of Nottingham to reduce the number of additives in the firm’s production process.
Design, development and application engineering company Intelligent Distributed Controls (IDC), Derby, has been awarded £2,550 to help develop software for a hardware pouring system the company has invented that will reduce waste and loss of drinks in the food service and hospitality sector, and improve profits.
Meat netting manufacturer Trunature Holdings Ltd, from Measham, has been awarded £3,825 to introduce a data mapping system to measure the effectiveness of new, more efficient, production machinery to minimise waste.
Cake and cereal bar supplier Ashbourne Foods, from Ashbourne, has been awarded £2,250 to help with new product development in the healthy eating sector.