Leadership organisation Scotland Food & Drink works to grow the value of the food and drink industry to £16.5bn and build Scotland’s reputation as a Land of Food and Drink.

As James Withers,  Chief Executive of Scotland Food and Drink says innovation is critical to underpin continued success through the growth of individual businesses and the overall industry. Accordingly, the acceleration of market focussed innovation is one of the big six actions within the food and drink industry strategy. The food and drink industry’s shared ambition is to nurture a culture of innovation which should be inspired by great leadership and proven successes.

To encourage businesses to innovate, it is important that the industry can draw on excellent intelligence to create the exciting new products that consumers demand. This means making more extensive use of research into the right routes to market as well as investment in R&D and developing stronger relationships with universities and other research bodies. The food and drink industry also needs to help drive the research agenda of Scotland’s universities and research institutes, working with them to turn their leading edge outputs into commercial opportunities.

Innovation is wider than R&D and New Product Development, extending into the supply chain, processes, marketing and leadership, packaging, food safety and resource efficiency and spans all sectors. In Scotland there is growing investment in innovation by companies, and in the number of companies undertaking innovation, and there is a greater demand for the support being offered as businesses see the benefits from a strong alignment between the major public sector investments in underpinning research, knowledge exchange and commercially focussed business support.

Interface provides a strong platform for SME’s into Scottish universities allowing them to access expertise and allowing them to innovate to develop new products or adapt existing products. It provides a low risk approach to innovation support both financially and with signposting to the most appropriate academic partner. 

Interface Food & Drink, in working with Common Interest Groups (CIGs) and building consortia, have brought a novel approach to helping businesses with a common purpose collaborate around innovation, offering access to expertise in a nurturing and supportive environment. The level of interest attracted by Interface Food & Drink helps to demonstrate the potential for innovation projects and that the food and drink industry is becoming more proactive in driving innovation into its business development and growth plans.

For more information on Common Interest Groups and how Interface, and Interface Food & Drink, can stimulate innovation in your business Contact Us we’re here to help!