Ten East Midlands companies working in the food and drink sector have been given support worth £37,500 by the Food and Drink iNet (Innovation Network) to encourage investment in innovation.

The money, which the firms have match funded, is being used for a range of projects including new product development and improvements in production processes.

“It is crucial that companies continue to think and work innovatively, both for their own futures and to ensure that the food and drink sector in the East Midlands continues to develop and thrive,” said Food and Drink iNet director Richard Worrall. “I am very pleased that the Food and Drink iNet has been able to support these ten forward-thinking firms, and wish them well with their projects.”

The Food and Drink iNet, which is funded by East Midlands Development Agency (emda) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), aims to encourage innovation in the region’s food and drink sector through new ways of working, new product development and the introduction of new processes.

With advisors working across Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Rutland, it links academic and private sector expertise and knowledge with local food and drink business innovation needs.

Innovation Advice and Guidance has been granted to the following firms:

In Leicestershire –

Coffee company Shelton Imports, from Kibworth, has been awarded £5,600 to help develop, re-brand and launch its chocolate-coated coffee beans.

Yum Baby Ltd, from Leicester, has been awarded £3,250 to develop an ambient range of organic, halal baby foods to go alongside its frozen range.

In Nottinghamshire –

Ghar Ka Khana, of Edwalton, has been awarded £3,375 to help develop a branding and marketing strategy to enable the firm to access new markets.

Miss Will’s Pickles, from Nottingham, has been awarded £2,000 for new product development to extend the existing range.

Lindhurst Engineering, from Sutton-in-Ashfield, has been awarded £10,000 to develop further a compact design waste baler suitable for the food and drink sector, which crushes paper, plastic and cardboard, and uses less energy than existing models.

Food importer and wholesaler Asiana Ltd, from Nottingham, has been awarded £2,750 to develop a new drink for the UK market that’s popular in south east Asia.

In Derbyshire –

Potato and vegetable supplier AB Produce Ltd, based at Measham, has been awarded £1,900 to work with the University of Nottingham to reduce the number of additives in the firm’s production process.

Design, development and application engineering company Intelligent Distributed Controls (IDC), Derby, has been awarded £2,550 to help develop software for a hardware pouring system the company has invented that will reduce waste and loss of drinks in the food service and hospitality sector, and improve profits.

Meat netting manufacturer Trunature Holdings Ltd, from Measham, has been awarded £3,825 to introduce a data mapping system to measure the effectiveness of new, more efficient, production machinery to minimise waste.

Cake and cereal bar supplier Ashbourne Foods, from Ashbourne, has been awarded £2,250 to help with new product development in the healthy eating sector.

The Food and Drink iNet, which is based at Southglade Food Park, Nottingham, 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 and Drink Forum and including Food Processing Faraday, Nottingham Trent University, the University of Lincoln, and the University of Nottingham. For more information visit www.eminnovation.org.uk/food

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