Innovation is the lifeblood of any business, and biscuit, cake and confectionery manufacturers in the UK are no exception.
Speaking at the Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate and Confectionery Alliance's 50th Technology Conference in London yesterday, Digby Jones, director-general of the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) called for greater support for companies to invest in new technologies.
"The UK has a fantastic science base, producing world class research and design, but there's more that can be done to turn this work to commercial advantage. The government must do more to encourage companies to invest in research and development that will lead to greater innovation and boost the UK's productivity drive," said Jones.
A sentiment echoed by Dr Stephen Beckett of Nestlé, chairman of the conference committee, who said: "Although we are a well established industry, with many well loved products, we need to constantly invest in research and new product development to meet changing consumer demands."
Biscuit, cake and confectionery manufacturers are obliged to innovate as their products frequently tap into the zeitgeist, as demonstrated by Tim Eales, industry insight director at Information Resources. He showed that changing social trends are affecting products, citing data from a pan-European study that shows consumers' are increasingly choosing to snack rather than eat three traditional meals each day.
The BCCCA's Technology Conference continued, with Laura Haynes, to discuss successful brand positioning and differentiation to capitalise on the public's changing attitudes and different demographics.
Also speakging was Professor Tony Blake who presented a paper reviewing the recent research into how are sense of taste and smell give the sensation of flavour and the effect on perception of flavour strength and quality in the finished product.
The Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate and Confectionery Alliance is the UK trade association for the manufacturers of these products. Between them they employ some 60,000 people and have annual sales in the UK of over £8 billion (at consumer values). The Alliance's membership accounts for over 90 per cent of the industry's production - all of the large companies are Alliance members as are over 70 small and medium size businesses.