Have your cake, and eat the packaging, too.

Recent developments in Food Packaging Science could open up major opportunities for manufacturers, some of which will qualify for R&D tax relief.

22 September 2017

Packaging Machinery

Recent developments in Food Packaging Science could open up major opportunities for manufacturers, some of which will qualify for R&D tax relief.

By Gemma Monaghan, Innovation Funding Consultant

Picture the scene. It’s morning, and you desperately need a coffee to function. So you pop your unopened coffee, sugar and milk pouches into hot water and watch them dissolve before drinking up. Then you bite into your morning cereal bar without having to remove its wrapper… Could this utopian world of reduced waste and longer shelf-life foodstuffs be just around the corner?

R&D in Food Packaging.

Food packaging is a source of continuing innovation. Manufacturers are constantly working on cutting down on energy consumption and waste, to create environmentally-friendly packaging that can also improve the quality and shelf-life of our food products.

It is no surprise then that scientists have been researching ways to develop edible food packaging for many years, with one group in America recently presenting their findings on an innovative milk protein film at the world’s largest scientific society.

Good News All-Round.

Some earlier edible packaging solutions already exist, that use starch-based compositions, however these are more porous (and therefore let more oxygen in to degrade the food) and are also light sensitive.

Research leader Peggy Tomasula, D.Sc., explains, “The protein-based films are powerful oxygen blockers that help prevent food spoilage. When used in packaging, they could prevent food waste during distribution along the food chain.” The casein-based film was demonstrated to be 500 times better than plastic at keeping oxygen away from food because proteins form a tighter network when they polymerise.

Another benefit of this packaging innovation is waste reduction. A welcome development when you consider that in the UK, 15,000 tonnes of household waste is sent to landfill each year!

Will This Affect Processing and Packaging Businesses?

Yes, but in a good way! Edible food packaging could open up major opportunities for Processing and Packaging manufacturers, some of which will qualify for R&D tax relief.

How? Well, this new technology is highly likely to cause manufacturing process challenges for processing and packaging industry businesses, and the work they undertake to overcome the ensuing technological uncertainties may well qualify for R&D tax relief.  This would allow them to reduce their tax bill or even claim payable cash credits as a proportion of their R&D expenditure.

Some Examples of Where Eligible R&D Might be Found.

Processing and Packaging manufacturers might want to start their own research into edible packaging. They may also try to replicate the performance of existing solutions. Both of these scenarios come with their own uncertainties. Trying to incorporate this finer, delicate material into large scale manufacturing processes, for example, will present challenges. Or trying to integrate it with an existing product, where the impact on the foodstuff can only be understood through experimentation, and problems solved iteratively.

Be Rewarded For Your Innovation!

These are only a few pointers as to where edible packaging may result in your ability to claim R&D tax relief.

R&D tax credits are considered to be one of the most attractive tax reliefs available, often resulting in significant cash repayments from HMRC. If you can demonstrate which of your activities qualify under the scheme, you can open up a new revenue stream to fund further R&D projects and facilitate business growth.

The good news is that majority of the challenges your business will be faced with, in order to extend the knowledge and capability of the processing and packaging industry, will fall within the boundaries of the R&D tax relief scheme, offsetting some of the financial risk posed to innovative companies.

For more details and a chat about how this might apply to your own business:

Contact a member of the ABGI UK team today