Bells Food Group pie shells at factory in Lanarckshire  2100x1400

Source: Bells Food Group

Bells Food Group reduced the fat and sodium content of its pie shells through reformulation projects part funded by FDF Scotland’s Reformul8 Challenge Fund.

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Scotland has unveiled its latest £50k round of funding to help Scottish manufacturers including bakers create more healthier product lines.

First established in 2019, the Reformul8 Challenge Fund is now marking its fourth edition – it has been made possible this year through funding from fellow trade association, Scotland Food & Drink.

Once again, funding is open to SME food and drink producers across Scotland who face challenges in reformulating recipes to reduce sugar, salt, and fat or increase fibre, fruit or vegetable content.

It can be used for a wide range of activities including accessing nutritional testing and technical support, or working with ingredient suppliers to source and trial new innovative solutions that can improve the health of products and improving production capacity.

Between £250 and £5,000 is available for each successful business, who must be able to provide at least 50% of the total cost for the proposed project. Applications must be made by 16 February via this online submission form.

Winners are to be announced on 26 February at a free showcase event entitled ‘Celebrating Reformulation and Innovation for Health’ at Dynamic Earth science centre in Edinburgh.

“I am delighted to be able to support more Scottish food and drink manufacturers with the fourth round of the Reformul8 Challenge Fund,” said Joanne Burns, reformulation for health manager at FDF Scotland.

“Creating a wider range of healthier products can help food businesses to meet growing consumer demand for healthier options and to achieve public health targets.”

Burns noted that the fund was a great way to help businesses kick start their reformulation journey. “Along with bespoke help and guidance from the Reformulation for Health team we can help you get those products to shelf – improving the health of Scotland’s people one product at a time!”

To date 46 businesses have been supported in their reformulation journey during the three previous rounds of funding, helping to remove hundreds of millions of calories and tonnes of salt from the Scottish diet.

The most recent round in February last year saw 13 different companies receive funding including pie and pasty maker Bells Food Group, premium brand Border Biscuits, and shortbread specialist Dean’s of Huntly.

Bells Food Group, for example, was enabled in cutting fat content of its pie shells having already reduced sodium levels by 50% through funding – this equated to taking out almost nine tonnes of salt in total from its finished products.

Meanwhile, Peth-based Tower Bakery managed to nearly double the amount of fibre in some of its bread rolls to meet regulations set by the Food and Drink in Schools (Scotland) Regulations.

FDF Scotland also launched its Healthier Bakery Fund last May, an almost identical scheme aimed purely at Scottish bakery businesses, which was funded by the Food Standards Scotland. The 13 recipients of funding were announced in July and included Dean’s of Huntly again and Fisher & Donaldson, which picked up Craft Bakery Business of the Year at the Baking Industry Awards 2023.