Food Processing and Marketing Grant Scheme
For those who process and sell food, times are hard. Container ships with refrigerated and deep-freeze compartments have turned the distribution of food products into a global business. Competition in the industry has intensified. This has affected prices and revolutionised methods of food production. Those companies unable to stay abreast of developments struggle to remain profitable.
The European Union has a programme to help address these issues: the Food Processing and Marketing grant scheme. In the UK, the regional governments each run the scheme. Money comes from the regional governments and the EU. In some instances, private companies also contribute. The scheme runs until 2013 with its current levels of funding.
DetailsThe details of the scheme vary to match regional needs. In Scotland, for example, the full name is the Food Processing, Marketing and Co-operation (FPMC) scheme. The aim of FPMC is to stimulate the profitable and sustainable production of food across the country. To reach this goal, anyone who processes and sells food must have the knowledge and resources to respond to the changes occurring in the industry.
FPMC’s intention is that food producers, processors and retailers work together more closely. Only then, according to FPMC, can farmers make money and continue to supply the country’s food factories and shops.
Other GoalsCountries trade food more than ever before. Consumers in developing countries want to expand their choice of cuisine. A further intention of the grant scheme is to take advantage of international markets and boost exports.
The final goal of FPMC, however, is not just to help with the processing and selling of established food lines. The grant scheme aims to boost innovation. It provides the finance for new healthy and creative food products.
Grant ApplicantsAnyone who has a role in the food production industry can apply for a Food Processing, Marketing and Co-operation grant. The list includes farmers, market gardeners, retail chains and supermarkets. Applicants can be individuals, groups of individuals with a common interest, or companies.
Universities and food science research institutes can also become involved. Under the scheme, their role is to support the food industry with appropriate studies and management reports. Applicants are in competition with each other for the available money. This funding is in three categories:
1. Co-operation GrantsCo-operation grants focus on partnership working among the individual elements of the food production chain. Applicants should apply for these grants in two phases.
For phase one, an applicant must describe any proposed research or study and explain its objectives. The application must include details of the methodology, the qualifications of the people undertaking the research or study, and a breakdown of the cost.
Phase two requires more detailed financial information. This includes the audited accounts of the body proposing to implement the project. There are also questions applicants must answer about waste, climate change, carbon emissions and environmental benefits.
2. Non-Capital GrantsNon-capital grants cover projects such as consultancy, consumer education and the development of new food products. The content of the application form is broadly similar to that of phase two co-operation grants.
3. Capital GrantsThe form for capital grants also follows the same lines as the questions in the phase two co-operation grants application. Capital grants, though, are for the purchase of equipment and plant. They can also help towards the erection of factory units, sheds and other buildings that are part of a food processing and retail scheme.
ExampleThe point of contact for anyone interested in applying for a grant is the appropriate regional government. Each government provides advice for any individual, group or company that wishes to complete a grant application form. Nonetheless, applicants should first have a clear idea of what they want to achieve.
For example, a group of specialist, small-scale food processors such as cheesemongers may be finding it hard to distribute and sell their products to major retailers. Such a group could apply for a non-capital grant to employ a consultant.
This consultant could look at the possibility of creating a marketing company for the group. If the project is feasible, the group may then want a non-capital grant to cover the cost of employing a marketing manager. This manager could then arrange for the sale and distribution of the group’s various cheeses to retailers.