£1.4m funding support to food and drink companies

Automation: Steve Cann, director of InnovateBetter at an automated food manufacturing plant.
Automation: Steve Cann, director of InnovateBetter at an automated food manufacturing plant.
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Food and drink companies from Yorkshire that want to boost production using automation and robotics are being offered funding and support by the Doncaster-based Centre of Food Robotics and Automation, CenFRA.

The organisation, which is part of Rotherham-based recruitment specialists Stafforce, has secured more than £1.4 million of funding from the European Regional Development Fund to support its new InnovateBetter project.

The project will offer organisations seeking to increase competitiveness, enhance production, drive growth and develop new market opportunities specialist advice and guidance from dedicated engineers and business consultants.

InnovateBetter director, Steve Cann, said: “We are really excited about what this means for food and drink manufacturers in this region.

“It comes at just the right time, as manufacturers are facing increasing production and commodity costs, along with ongoing pressure from the market to keep prices down, which in turn is squeezing margins.

“InnovateBetter is about empowering organisations to improve their business performance and competitiveness by embracing technological advances. We expect that this project will have a major impact in safeguarding and creating jobs, as well as adding to the efficiency and competitiveness of this region’s food and drink companies.”

InnovateBetter is planning to run a series of local events over the coming months to help SMEs in the food and drink sector to understand more about the funding and consultancy support available for innovation and automation.

Mr Cann said: “As well as providing funding, we will also be supporting the transfer of knowledge and learning to improve business performance, by bringing like-minded networks and individuals together through a programme of events,” continued.

“With around 900 SME food and drinks related companies in the region, we are advising businesses to get in touch and find out more about the project and how they could benefit.”