An innovative software system which helps food manufacturers spot the potential risk of allergens in their products is proving a huge success in the food and drink industry, enabling the company which invented it to double in size.
Launched last year by Leicestershire-based Qadex, with help from the Food and Drink iNet, the system already numbers the likes of Britvic and Whitworths among its users.
The Qadex system uses software to help food manufacturers gather information about their products and their supply chains, so they can assess any risk of allergens. Before the software was developed, manufacturers had to rely on a far longer, manual and labour-intensive process.
Stephen Whyte, business development director for Qadex, said the system was proving popular with manufacturers and answered a need for more accurate information on allergens in food products.
“It is becoming increasingly important for manufacturers to get really accurate information about any potential allergen risks and to be able to pass this on to the retailers and so the consumers,” he said.
To develop the software, Qadex was awarded £10,000 worth of innovation advice and guidance support from the iNet which it matched with its own investment. Stephen said the iNet support was of huge importance.
“Any support which is available is vital,” he added.
The success of the software has helped enable the business to grow significantly. Last year its turnover doubled in size and similar growth is anticipated this year. The number of employees has more than doubled to 32 and, as a result, Qadex relocated last year from central Leicester to Sileby. It also has a base in Dublin.
Other Qadex clients using the system include First Milk Group, Rectory Foods and Maximuscle.
Next summer, Qadex plans to launch another new product – a retail specification system – which will enable manufacturers to easily and automatically produce information for retailers in the format they require. For more information about Qadex, visit www.qadex.com .
The iNet helps food and drink firms engage expertise from academia, research institutions and specialist business advice for innovation projects to develop new ideas, new products, new processes and to help companies grow. 50% of the equivalent cash value of the support must be contributed by the company.
Food and Drink iNet director Andrew Butterwick said: “Innovation, advice and guidance support is designed to encourage innovation in businesses in the East Midlands food and drink sector and this project fitted the bill perfectly.”
Funded by East Midlands Development Agency (emda) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Food and Drink iNet co-ordinates innovation support for businesses, universities and individuals working in the food and drink sector in the East Midlands. One of four regional iNets, it has developed an effective network to link academic and private sector expertise and knowledge with local food and drink business innovation needs.
The Food and Drink iNet also aims to build on the tradition of innovation in the food and drink industry in the region by helping to create opportunities to develop knowledge and skills, and to help research, develop and implement new products, markets, services and processes. It is managed by a consortium, led by the Food & Drink Forum and including Food Processing Faraday, Nottingham Trent University, the University of Lincoln, and the University of Nottingham. It is based at Southglade Food Park, Nottingham, with advisors covering the East Midlands region.
For more information visit www.eminnovation.org.uk/food