Specialist R&D Tax & Grant Funding Advisors

What Is R&D In The Food And Beverage Industry?

The food and beverage industry is a huge contributor to research and development in Ireland. Here we take a look.

Barrie Dowsett

Chief Executive Officer


5 minute read

It’s a diverse and highly innovative market

One of the biggest, brightest industries in Ireland - as well as in the UK - is the food and beverage industry. Many companies in this sector invest heavily in research and development to make their products taste better, last longer or contain less sugar. They also use everything from modern equipment, automation technologies and improved packaging to keep up with the competition and market their brand to their customers.

What are the typical R&D activities that take place in the food and drinks industry?

There are absolutely loads of ways a food or drink business in Ireland may carry out R&D work that would likely attract an R&D Tax Credits claim. These include:

  • Developing new ingredients or formulas
  • Creating a new flavour or product range
  • Improving the food or drink’s nutritional content, taste or texture
  • Developing new samples or prototypes
  • Devising ways to cut costs without reducing product quality
  • Creating healthier product lines, i.e products with less fat or sugar
  • Coming up with ways to more sustainably package and transport a product
  • Devising ways to lengthen a product’s shelf life
  • Developing better ways to minimise contamination
  • Coming up with innovative ways to deal with scrap, spoilage and waste

Top R&D trends in food and beverage industry

Over the last few years there have been a few major trends across the sector bringing about some notable trends including:

The use of sustainably-sourced ingredients

Customers are becoming increasingly aware of how their purchasing choices affect the world around them long term. This means that companies who support green, sustainable initiatives are more likely to be looked upon favourably than those which don’t.

An example of this is in plant-based, vegan-friendly foods, however even these are not immune to scrutiny. For instance, the popularity of almond milk is surging, meaning that farmers globally are having to massively increase their yields. This in turn is leading to environmental damage, include the decimation of honey bee populations.

Many food and beverage manufacturers are now finding that by using sustainable ingredients, reducing waste, and being more transparent in their processes, they’re more able to thrive longer term.

Targeted marketing

Breakthroughs that are the result of intense R&D have allowed marketers to be able to make health claims about their products that are backed by science. Additionally, customers are becoming more educated about the content of what they eat and drink, putting companies engaged in clean labelling at an advantage. However, this of course needs to be balanced against the taste, texture and price point that customers have come to expect.

Reducing waste

Waste reduction has been a hot topic for years, particularly regarding plastic. There are now many customer demands that need to be met, and the challenge is in creating food and drink products with maximum taste and minimum packaging. Shelf life is another priority, as products may not only be hanging around in warehouses for a while but they’re likely to spend some time in shops too.

Reducing waste is not just about being environmentally friendly though, it’s also about cutting costs. R&D work is now meaning that manufacturers can still develop their products efficiently whilst keeping their prices competitive; a win-win for all.

Internet of Things (IoT)

R&D has meant that IoT in laboratories has become increasingly commonplace. Not only can it automate processes so boosting efficiency, it can improve food safety too.

The Internet of Things (IoT) allows previously inconceivable data collection, in terms of sheer volume and accuracy too. It allows engineers tocapture and manipulate the data harvested, and use it to improve results. Indeed, with all the benefits the IoT brings, it’s essential that companies embrace these new technologies in order to support R&D spending in this area and bolster long-term growth.

Does your food industry business qualify for R&D Tax Credits?

Despite the large amount of innovative R&D that takes place across Ireland’s food and beverage industry, many companies are still not claiming the financial assistance they’re entitled to in funding it. This is where R&D Tax Credits comes in.

This sector really lends itself to R&D Tax Credits because if there’s one thing it does a lot of it’s developing new products. Companies also spend large amounts of money on extending their product lines, improving existing products and streamlining their processes. Additionally, there’s also R&D expenses to meet that includes staff salaries, packaging, marketing, transport, ingredients costs and other overheads. Fortunately, R&D Tax Credits can help to offset many of these costs, and it’s a generous scheme too.

Find out more about R&D Tax Credits, including eligibility and how to apply, by looking at our R&D Tax Credits page.

Why are so many food and drink companies missing out?

Many in the food and beverage industry fail to claim R&D Tax Credits because they don’t know they’re eligible, or even that the scheme exists. Some believe their new recipe or flavour is simply day-to-day business and don’t class it as innovation. Others are worried about making an incorrect claim and getting into hot water with Revenue. This is a huge shame, and a massive missed opportunity.

How Myriad Associates will work with you

Claiming R&D Tax Credits isn’t easy and there are many grey areas. But our team of R&D tax advisors and specialists can work alongside you in constructing a high quality, accurate claim that stands up to Revenue interrogation.

As long as a technological or scientific uncertainty is being addressed in the course of your project, which involves taking a financial risk, then R&D Tax Credits are likely to follow. Firstly, we can help you identify all the costs which are relevant, and to apportion them correctly. We can then put together a detailed, competent technical narrative, and work on your behalf with Revenue too.

Why not have a look at our R&D Tax Credits page for more information about how this highly valuable tax incentive could benefit your food and beverage company. Then when you’re ready to make a claim, simply drop us a message or call +353 1 566 2001 to get the process started.

You could well end up many thousands of euros better off.

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