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European food and beverage industry needs investment, innovation

European food and beverage industry needs investment, innovation
Encouraging innovation and improving access to financing are critical to future competitiveness for the European food and beverage industry.

Industry leaders have urged the European Commission to do more to encourage investment in R&D in Europe’s food and beverage industry.

Responding to Horizon 2020—the Commission’s newly launched “Framework Program for Research & Innovation”—Brussels-based trade body FoodDrinkEurope said it hoped the initiative would “deliver on its promises” by “promoting a mechanism which will deliver a more business- and research-friendly framework for the sector.”

In particular, FoodDrinkEurope said it hoped the framework would result in an increase in investment in technologies, make it easier for companies to access finance, and boost support for innovation among small and medium-sized enterprises, which account for more than 99 percent of food and drink businesses in Europe. 

Jesús Serafín Pérez, president of FoodDrinkEurope, said: “Encouraging innovation is central to ensuring the industry remains competitive, engendering greater consumer choice. The current framework creates bottlenecks to innovation.”

Meanwhile, FoodDrinkEurope has just published its own Competitiveness Report 2011, in which it urges policymakers to “resist the temptation of turning to fiscal measures, such as discriminatory food taxes, in an effort to address obesity while raising money to reduce national deficits at this tough economic time.”

It adds: “The food industry recognizes the importance of tackling obesity and that is why operators have been doing so much to reformulate their products, encourage consumers to live healthy lifestyles and to work closely with regulators in Brussels and elsewhere, to take forward creative solutions to what is a real societal challenge about the way we live and work, not just the way we eat.”

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