Scottish producers get financial boost to go healthy
In August, Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Scotland launched its second annual Reformul8 Challenge Fund (RCF), which provides £30k to help small to medium-sized manufacturers with their reformulation costs to bring about a healthier Scotland.
The RCF’s funding was provided by the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership Recovery Plan, supported by the Scottish Government.
The 12 business from across Scotland to tip the nod this year cover a variety of sectors from bakery and snacks to butchery, ice cream and confectionery, including well-known brands like Bells, the UK’s largest independent producer of professional pastry products, and Wick-based Shore Seaweed, processors of natural Scottish Seaweed used in its better-for-you crisps.
Supporting even more businesses
“At the end of last year, we launched the first Reformul8 Challenge Fund – it was oversubscribed and I was keen to offer additional funding to support even more businesses to make their products healthier,” said Joanne Burns, Reformulation for Health manager, FDF Scotland.
“We were delighted to receive funding from the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership Recovery Plan, which allowed us to launch a second call for funding in August. Again, this was oversubscribed – we had 25 applications and it was so difficult to pick which projects to fund.”
The F&B industry is Scotland’s largest manufacturing sector, contributing £11bn to the economy annually and employing almost 50,000 people across the country.
Recipe reformulation is key in helping to meet the growing demand for better-for-you options and can include anything from decreasing the product’s fat, salt or sugar content; to increasing fibre and nutrients; to swapping out with healthier alternatives; or providing clearer consumer health information.
While the majority of SMMEs have a real desire to offer a wider range of healthier products, the associated costs can be challenging – and this is where the RCF steps in.
Each business’ reformulations needs differ, but the RCF provides funds ranging between £250 to £5,000 to support them through:
- Increasing nutritional profile of commonly consumed products
- Trialling recipe and process changes
- Testing the functionality of ingredient alternatives
- Improving production capacity and operational efficiency
- Accessing nutritional testing and technical support
- Improving marketing and promotional activities to support health
Applicants must provide at least 50% of the total project costs. Businesses may contribute more than 50% of the total but the maximum fund remains fixed at £5,000.
Towards a healthier Scotland
This year’s beneficiaries are at the forefront of all things indulgent, that consumers are not prepared to give up. And why should they?
“This includes reducing salt in pie products, increasing fibre in breads, lowering fat content of meat products, lowering sugar and calories in chocolate, lowering sugar and calories in ice-cream and lowering sodium content in salt product,” said Burns.
“I am excited to be working with these 12 businesses. These projects will help make everyday food healthier and in turn improve dietary health in communities across Scotland.”