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Kevin-Bailey290pxRecent innovation by SMEs and academia has led to several exciting new material developments with implications for a wide variety of different industries, says Kevin Bailey 

The food and drink industry utilises a diverse range of technologies which have been developed utilising advances in a multitude of scientific disciplines including, mechanical engineering, materials science, electronics and chemistry. Recent developments have led to several emergent technologies that will provide greater benefit to this sector.

Food growers can benefit from recent advances in sensor technologies which has led to the development of analysers capable of rapidly measuring the nutrient content in soil, compost of liquid fertilizer. Previously limited to laboratory based analysis, analytical test can now be undertaken in situ at the growing site enabling the measurement of phosphate, nitrate, ammonium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium and chloride concentration in less than a minute.

Further advances in sensor technology has been applied to clean in place systems, allowing the development of novel algorithms that enable self-optimising clean in place protocol, vastly improving the efficiency and reducing costs of current maintenance protocol used within the food manufacturing industry.

Food manufacturers may benefit from cheaper vegetable oils that can be incorporated into recipes thanks to recent research that has culminated in an improved process to easily extract certain contaminants, such as the carcinogen 3-MCPD , that are formed during the refining process. This cost-effective process uses vitamins during the purification step to remove the contaminants, and these vitamins can be regenerated for future use. Higher grade oils can therefore be produced at reduced cost to the food manufacturer.

Food retailers can look towards new packaging technology that incorporates an indicator that changes colour in response to temperature. This technology will provide retailers with confidence that products have been stored and handled correctly before they are sold to the consumer. In addition, chemical formulations have been developed that can change colour on exposure to bacteria enabling the production of cleaning solutions that can give visual indicators on whether cleaning is effective and also enable the production of labels that change colour if bacteria is present in packaged food. This exciting smart 'use by' date technology is a significant improvement on current methods used within the food industry.

Invest in your business with R&D tax relief

Manufacturing is a vital part of the UK economy, and with so many small and medium firms contributing throughout the supply chain, across a variety of industries, it’s vital that they receive as much financial support as possible.

The Government's R&D tax relief is one of the biggest funding sources for innovative UK companies, but with hundreds of pages of guidance to wade through and almost as many pitfalls to avoid, it can be tough to go it alone.

Involving specialist advisors such as ABGi-UK for your claim means that your claim will be more efficient. You will benefit from the specialist’s tried and tested template and receive support from their team to guide you through any questions as you compile the claim.

With support from specialist advisors you will be able to
• demonstrate which of your activities qualify under the scheme,
• receive a funding stream for further research and development projects and
• develop an understanding of how to make best use of the scheme as you progress.

ABGi-UK is a leading R&D tax relief specialist, guiding companies through the complexities of submitting claims to HMRC. 

ABGi-UK’s large team of technical analysts have specific scientific and technical backgrounds and years of industrial experience which have resulted in an extremely high success rate in securing R&D tax relief for their clients. Since inception 10 years ago, they have realised almost £100 million benefit for their clients. Right now, they’re submitting an average of 500 claims per year to HMRC.

For a free R&D tax credit consultation and analysis of the potential returns you might expect, contact ABGi-UK on [email protected] or visit the website:

  •  About Kevin Bailey: Kevin investigated the synthesis and development of novel compounds to treat cancer. He was a postdoctoral researcher before moving to an international Contract Research Organisation. Kevin works with clients in food manufacturing, manufacture of machinery and precision engineering.  


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