"UK Food Industry, Lacking Investment in R&D" – What a surprise...
A recent headline; “The U.K.'s largest sectors of manufacturing are not Innovating enough" from EEF Ltd Manufacturers, revealed that the UK’s largest manufacturing sector; the food industry, accounts for only 3% of the total across all manufacturing. The published article uses 2015 data from an ONS survey on manufacturing added value to the associated R&D costs.
This may seem staggering for an industry which contributes £109 billion or 7.3% of Gross added value to the UK economy, and provides employment for 3.9 million people, which accounts for 14% of the UK population and is also by far the U.K.'s largest export category.
However, those involved in the food industry particularly those in processing and technical management will understand why I think this Headline comes as no surprise
Most of the food industry is retailer driven requiring rapid short product development, quick response, low risk reformulation, redesign or re-launch. This approach is not what other manufacturing sectors would describe as “Innovation”, which typically is the creation and delivering of a novel consumer need or one which solves a major long term technology challenge or which positively disrupts the food system.