INTERFACE looks for innovative food and drinks firms

Grants of £40,000 available for innovative companies

INTERFACE, the organisation which promotes partnerships between business and academics, has called on Food and Drink organisations across Scotland to showcase their ideas and innovations. The best will be in with a chance of winning a five-figure grant. It follows the success of last year’s inaugural competition. Winners will have the chance of getting up to £40,000 funding for their project.

Helen Pratt  Firms 'pushing the boundaries with food & drink innovation'
Helen Pratt
Firms ‘pushing the boundaries with food & drink innovation’
Interface Food & Drink is looking for companies to show off innovative solutions to key areas of concern to the industry — energy and resource efficiency, waste reduction and improved manufacturing techniques. All of these can lead to significant cost reductions, shelf life extension and increased export potential.

“The competition aims to stimulate innovation and the adoption of new technologies across the Scottish food & drink sector’” said Helen Pratt, the competition’s national co-ordinator. “Last year we had a number of superb entries from both internationally known organisations, as well as smaller, local companies. We know that there are businesses which are currently pushing the boundaries with food & drink innovation – and it’s those types of projects that we want to hear about.”

The 2013 winners of the competition, each of whom received a £25,000 grant to support collaborative projects with Scotland’s leading food & drink academics, were Edinburgh-based Mara Seaweed, North Lanarkshire’s collagen food casing manufacturer Devro, and Hamilton’s Lightbody Group.

As Helen Pratt was keen to stress, “Scotland’s Food & Drink industry generates more than £10bn each year for the Scottish economy, so it’s of the utmost importance that organisations are supported in developing new technologies and innovations that will ultimately help further the sector and stimulate both business and economic growth. This competition does just that – linking businesses to world-leading academics in order to develop solutions to issues that affect the entire industry.”

The Interface Food & Drink Innovation Competition is open to Scottish universities or Scottish businesses or food & drink trade organisations, but must involve both industry and academic partners. The closing date for entries is Wednesday 12th March 2014. For further information on the competition or to find out how Interface Food & Drink can help with finding both industry and academic partners for projects, please email Interface Food and Drink or call 0131 561 4019.

David Calder has been a broadcast journalist for over 30 years. Before moving to the Caledonian Mercury, he worked for the BBC (national and regional) as well as parts of ITV and the World Service. He worked for prestigious programmes such as The Money Programme, You & Yours, Today and The World at One. He spent two years making mini-documentaries for Radio 5 Live and was a regular correspondent for CBC (Radio Canada). He was a regular reporter on various news and current affairs programmes on BBC Scotland as well as producing or presenting (sometimes both) science, legal affairs and arts programmes. As well as his contributions to the Caledonian Mercury, he is also a freelance producer in Scotland for the satellite channel, Al Jazeera.