Research and development into 3D food printing
A phenomenon that would have seemed more at home in science fiction several years ago, 3D food printing is expected to have benefits to people in all walks of life, with its application having relevance to school children, the SpaceX program and everything in between.
While perhaps more obvious for consumers, its advantages are not solely for them; for businesses, it will offer custom, on-demand production of materials with a minimal generation of waste. Also, in a time of more information being available to consumers and thus more varied dietary choices, there’s an opportunity for research to be expanded to cater to these different segments. This increased R&D expenditure within the food and drink industry has not only the obvious benefit of opening up new markets, but also means businesses can be eligible for R&D tax credits.
Ways R&D is improving the food and drinks industry
Some of the ways in which the food industry is benefitting from research and development include:
- Ready meals with fewer preservatives and lower salt content
- More foods catering to allergies and intolerances (gluten, dairy)
- Improved processing and packaging methods
Projects such as the above have long been enjoying the rewards available from the government’s decision to provide R&D tax credits to the food industry.
How advanced is 3D printing for the food and drink industry?
Whilst there are benefits regarding human nourishment from 3D printing, technology thus far means the food is not expected to be ready for the mass market yet. It might also not be very nutritious – but companies are working within this space to improve not only the health advantages, but to ensure technology is less expensive.
Foodini, the market-leading brand of 3D food printers, costs around $4,000. Clearly, the market is far from saturated, and there is huge scope for other businesses to invest in R&D in the field. This is where R&D tax credits can be used, to enable businesses to claim money back for such expenditure.
Why claiming is important
Many businesses aren’t aware that their projects are eligible for tax relief, or fail to claim because the process is notoriously complex. However, some R&D tax credit statistics may put things into perspective regarding what’s available:
- £2.9 billion of R&D tax relief was claimed in 2015-16 – a 20% claim increase from the previous year. This covers SME businesses through to major corporations.
- To encourage more R&D among SMEs, in 2012-13 there was the removal of a minimum claim requirement (previously £10,000) in order to encourage more innovative projects.
Am I eligible?
To find out if your company could qualify for R&D tax credits, you can contact R&D Tax Solutions. Not only can we confirm your eligibility for a claim, we can also help you calculate what you could be owed. Alternatively, use our handy R&D relief calculator to discover what remuneration you could benefit from.