GKM offers £900k for sustainable innovation in food and drink sector - Fruit & Vine

GKM offers £900k for sustainable innovation in food and drink sector

In a new Business Sustainability Challenge, Growing Kent & Medway (GKM) is making £900,000 available for innovative horticultural, plant-based food and drink businesses with ideas to enhance sustainability in the sector.

Apple cores – by-products from processing – can be turned into products such as flavouring for gin manufacturers.

Successful applicants will be awarded grants worth up to £50,000 each, covering 50% of the eligible project costs. Funding is available for innovative project ideas, processes or technologies to support sustainable production, products and packaging.

Grants will be awarded directly to businesses, allowing them to conduct their own research and development. While lead applicants must be based in the Kent or Medway area, the competition encourages partnerships between businesses, and collaborating companies can be based anywhere in the UK.

Programme director Dr Nikki Harrison said: “We’re particularly interested in collaborative partnerships between businesses; working together to tackle some of the biggest sustainability challenges facing the fresh produce and plant-based food and drink sector.

“Our experienced team can help match businesses seeking new partnerships within the region. We’d encourage anyone with an innovative idea that can be applied to our sector to get in touch.”

Successful projects will need to be innovative and relate to sustainability or the creation of viable circular economies within the horticultural and plant-based food and drink supply chain. These could explore alternative uses for waste, ways to boost biodiversity, or testing alternative sustainable ingredients.

Dr Robert Saville, Innovation Growth Manager at GKM, said: “We’ve seen incredible examples of innovation taking place in the sector. Businesses are finding value from all types of waste material. From beauty products being created from waste fruit, to tomato leaves being processed into new material that is formed into punnets for packaging tomatoes.

“We’re looking for novel ideas that can help to find value in materials that would otherwise be classed as waste, or more sustainable ways of growing, processing, and producing the food we eat.”

The application window for the GKM Business Sustainability Challenge closes at midnight on 31st May. For more information about the grants and how to apply, visit bit.ly/BusinessSustainabilityChallenge

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