Appetizing Innovation is the name of a new, three-year initiative designed to foster packaging and product innovation among food and beverage companies operating in the Yorkshire and Humber region of northern Britain.
It aims to help firms develop more successful, cost efficient and effective packaging systems by focusing the advice of key industry experts.
“We believe there is great potential for food and drink businesses in the region to take advantage of the world class skills, research, knowledge and equipment on their doorstep,” said John Sorsby, former food and drink manager for Yorkshire Forward which is funding the initiative.
“This initiative will help them compete successfully in the short term as well as further into the future. Innovation offers business cost saving opportunities as well as new high value opportunities,” he added.
Packaging managers will have access to innovation surgeries, seminars, workshops and special reports all designed to improve performance. There are also plans to open a new packaging materials resource centre.
Appetizing Innovation is led by industry consultants Food Processing Faraday Partnership (FPFP) working alongside four other partners. Those are the Sheffield Hallam University’s Food Innovation team, Leeds Metropolitan University, the Regional Food Group and Design Futures, a packaging innovation consultancy.
FPFP’s regional manager and project leader, Ian Blakemore highlighted the particular benefits to small and medium sized (SME) companies. “Some companies are too small to be able to enjoy innovation specialists in-house and this will help them with focused projects," he said.
“We also know that many larger companies look for specialist R&D staff to supplement their innovation teams. The consortium members are all experienced in working with business to make a significant commercial impact,” added Blakemore.
“Appetizing Innovation will bring together those businesses which want to create innovative food products or packaging as well as those who are already undertaking research projects but want to take them further and put them in touch with the right solution providers quickly and efficiently,” he said.
Food and drink manufacturers of any size can benefit and funding is available to those within the Yorkshire and Humber region to support some project work. The level of support depends upon the project and amount of company investment.
For example, a £10,000 (€12,555) project will attract 25 per cent funding while larger schemes will attract more – 54 per cent for a project of greater than £20,000 (€25,090) in value, started before 2009.
All information disclosed to Appetizing Innovation will be treated in confidence, according to the project leaders.