Food and drink companies in the Highlands and Islands which want to tap into global opportunities in the rapidly expanding health related food and drink sector are being offered additional support.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has announced funding of £245,000 to help businesses in the region access cutting edge research in food and health to scope new or improved products.
The £4.4m five-year Food and Health Innovation Service (FHIS) has been delivered by Scottish Enterprise in other areas of Scotland for the past year and HIE's funding has secured its availability to businesses in the Highlands and Islands looking to develop innovative healthy products.
Through FHIS, companies are helped to take research in the commercially lucrative food and health market and apply it to the current or future food or drink products. The project then works with the businesses by providing technical and commercial support and helping them plan for the launch of these new or improved products.
The project aims to build on Scotland's international reputation for top quality natural products such seafood, lean red meat, oats and berries.
The programme is funded by Scottish Enterprise and HIE, operated in partnership with Scotland Food and Drink and delivered by a consortium of contractors led by world renowned food technology company Campden BRI. Using expertise in product development and processing technology, Campden BRI and partners will help companies to scope the development and innovation of 'healthy products'.
Iain Sutherland, development manager at HIE said: "This successful FHIS programme is now available in the HIE area. With our investment we will harness the leading experts in this field to provide the science, innovation and technology which are vital to sustaining long term growth of our food and drink industry. The Highlands and Islands have a proud heritage in the food and drink arena and this project will help our businesses profit from the rapidly expanding domestic and international markets for health related food and drink products."
"There is already an excellent story to be told about what is going on behind the scenes in our food and drink sector and the benefits of this investment will stretch far beyond Scotland. It will help businesses in the Highlands and Islands over the next five years access leading research in food and health to develop new and improved products."
Further information about the FHIS is available at www.foodhealthinnovation.com