Packaging innovation surgeries target food and drink sector
FoodProductionDaily.com recently reported on the establishment of a three-year initiative, Appetizing Innovation, a scheme which aims to foster packaging and product innovation among food and beverage companies operating in the Yorkshire and Humber region of northern Britain.
The scheme is now offering manufacturers one-to-one sessions with packaging innovation consultancy, Design Futures, to investigate opportunities for packaging improvements that will increase sales.
Gail Wyman, commercial director at the packaging consultancy, said it is often the case that food and drink processors want to innovate but either do not have the resources or the knowledge of where to turn to for help in this regard.
According to Wyman, an expert team including design researchers, human computer interaction designers, usability specialists, applied psychologists, technologists and engineers will be at the disposal of food companies that sign on for the forthcoming consultations.
She said that Design Futures would engage with a company prior to the surgery to ensure that it is fully aware of what is involved in the process, and the consultancy would then devise and present recommendations at the two hour meeting to drive packaging innovation while being mindful of the financial and operation constraints the company is working to.
"We aim to shorten the decison making time frame for the key players involved in packaging development within a food or drink manufacturing firm," continued Wyman.
The surgery dates are 19 February, 12 and 26 March 2009, the cost of which is subsidised for companies in the Yorkshire and Humber region.
"The surgeries are also open to food manufacturers in other UK regions and to multnational food companies. Food and drink processors in other regions could try applying to funding authorities in their area to determine if a subsidy was available to help cover the cost of the surgeries," added Wyman.
Andrew Collinson from the project funding body, Yorkshire Forward, said that packaging innovation is a key way for businesses to deliver what the market needs as well as adding value to products. He said the packaging surgeries can help food and drink companies find ways to reduce waste and costs.
Appetizing Innovation is led by industry consultants Food Processing Faraday Partnership (FPFP) and also includes four partners: Sheffield Hallam University’s Food Innovation team, Leeds Metropolitan University, the Regional Food Group and Design Futures.
Food and drink manufacturers of any size can benefit from the project, said Ian Blakemore FPFP regional manger and project leader, and he added that the level of financial support available to companies depends upon the project and amount of company investment.
For example, a £10,000 (€12,555) project will attract 25 per cent funding while larger schemes will attract more – 54 per cent for a project of greater than £20,000 (€25,090) in value, started before 2009.
All information disclosed to Appetizing Innovation will be treated in confidence, according to the project leaders.