Blog and Case Studies

Food product development & innovation

by Darina Ward, on Mar 26, 2021 8:01:57 AM

Food innovations have been making headlines in June 2020 and the winners of the World Dairy Innovation Awards 2020 have also just been announced. But which are the innovations from food and drink manufacturers that have caught the eye of the Growthviser R&D tax reclaim team?


In the month in which we welcomed our food manufacturing specialist, Sylvia Barton, we have spotted stories about everything from vegan pasta to mail-order ice lollies, with some exciting things in between!

Where is food product development taking place?

Much of the food R&D is being driven by Universities, such as the University of West London Food Innovation Lab and the University of Nottingham, where food scientists are working in collaboration with food and drink producers, to create new products to take to market.

At the University of West London, the innovative collaboration has been with Plant-up. Their new vegetable and vegan and coeliac-friendly pastas are produced from beetroot and sweet potato and packaged in biodegradable, compostable packaging, demonstrating a holistic level of eco-concern and a great degree of innovation.

The product developers, who scooped a silver award in the Ecotrophelia UK competition for creators of eco-innovative food products this month, focused on both the nutritional value and the sustainability aspects of the product but also had the commercial awareness to recognise that the recipe had to be scalable. Their research and development process resulted in a tasty product, delivering great nutritional value with just a 2-minute cook time.

Food packaging and flavour innovations

Meanwhile, Westaways Sausages are now available in 100% compostable packaging, giving the firm the kudos of being the first sausage producer in the UK to take this eco-friendly step. The innovation saw Westaway replace its PVC overwrap film with a biodegradable alternative – the first certified compostable cling film in the world.

We hope Ben Lomond Gin saw our press coverage around World Gin Day, when we reminded gin distilleries that their recipe innovations, and other R&D driven actions, could well be eligible for and R&D tax reclaim from HMRC. Ben Lomond has just released its first flavoured gins. Its new Raspberry and Elderflower and Blackberry and Gooseberry gins sound fabulous and are said to deliver sense of place within the Loch Lomond and Trossachs area, by reflecting and representing its flora.

Are mail-order ice lollies claiming back R&D tax lolly?

And then there is Nottinghamshire-based start-up, Pola, whose founder, Isaac Greenway-Tambini, has been working with food scientists at the University of Nottingham, who are driving the ERDF-funded ‘Driving Research & Innovation’ programme. This is a three-year programme due to end in 2023. Projects are being managed in the University’s Food Innovation Centre and Pola’s is all about creating frozen mail-order ice lollies with flavours from fruits sourced, wherever possible, from within a five-mile radius. Further innovation is said to surround the brand’s desire to eliminate plastic packaging and move to compostable.

With all of this food and drink innovation taking place, we just hope food innovators and research and development teams appreciate that the HMRC R&D tax reclaim scheme exists and could bring back up to 33 pence of every Pound they have spent on their food manufacturing innovation. If anyone needs help with this, please call us on 0844 549 9400.