UK’s biggest kebab supplier gets £372,000 tax break after simply withdrawing milk from donors – London Business News

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The UK’s biggest kebab maker has secured more than £370,000 in government tax breaks after developing lactose-free donors, innovation finance specialist Catax can reveal.

Kismet Kebabs Ltd was driven to innovate and remove the milk from its doner skewers and chicken shawarma after realizing that a large number of customers with this food intolerance were not well served by the industry .

It was one of several innovative projects undertaken by the Essex-based company which qualified it for £372,422 in R&D tax relief – the government tax incentive that rewards innovation.

Milk is traditionally used in the manufacture of skewers as a binding, flavoring and texturizing agent, as well as a coloring agent. There were no products available to replace lactose, so Kismet’s food technologists set out to develop new recipes that would open up new markets for itself and its customers. They first had to contact every supplier of every ingredient they used to find out if they contained lactose, then start experimenting with alternatives that all too often resulted in a product that lacked flavor and texture.

Other early problems encountered by Production and NPD Manager Eduarto Latiffi and his team include new recipes that stick to machinery parts, become too dry or disintegrate.

It wasn’t just the ingredients and the recipes that needed to change. Ripple effects included adaptation of machinery and software used in the production process. This equipment operated on such a scale that it was largely automated.

The latest trials involving a particular type of soy that could compensate for the lack of milk have finally proven successful.

The 30-year-old company produces more than 200 tonnes of kebab meat a week from its large purpose-built factory in Latchingdon, near Chelmsford.

Another R&D project involved modifying recipes to avoid the use of phosphates and adjusting the temperature of ingredients to reduce wear and tear on choppers.

Phosphates are widely used in the food industry as a binder, but early experiments to remove them were disastrous. The skewers leaked oil, fell apart and dried out. The team experimented with alternatives such as soy, citrus fiber and potato starch before coming across a recipe with favorable characteristics. However, donors over 10 kg continued to crumble on the spit and the flavor needed improvement. This remains an ongoing project as the team attempts to resolve these challenges.

Additional innovations were needed to prevent the chopping blades of its industrial mixers from wearing out too quickly. The meat was ground while frozen at around -18°C, meaning it was solidly frozen and particularly difficult for the 2mm blades to process. Kismet has researched and adapted a process known as “tempering”, which involves thawing meat to just below freezing point (approximately -5°C) so that it is easier to work with while still meeting the requirements food security.

It also solved the problem of separating fat from protein during the cold mix process. The final mixture, after being combined with spices and other ingredients, is pressed and frozen ready for shipment. R&D has paid off and quenching is now a fully integrated step in its production cycle.

R&D tax relief was introduced by the government in 2000 to encourage innovation and results in either a reduction in the corporation tax bill of a limited liability company or a lump sum in species. Many companies do not realize that the work they perform is considered R&D, defined as any work aimed at resolving scientific or technological uncertainty, whether it is a new process, product or service. Basically, R&D work does not need to have been successful to qualify, and claims can be made up to two years after the end of the tax year in which the work took place. occurred.

Amird Devadasan, CEO of Kismet Kebabs Ltd, said: “We have missed significant sums in the past because we simply had no idea that R&D tax relief existed. Second, we didn’t really understand how much R&D we were doing. Receiving this kind of recognition and government support transforms the company as the sums involved are significant.

“All of this is returned to further develop the business. Product innovation is no longer something we do occasionally when customers show interest in products we don’t have. In a world where every other person has some kind of dietary need, we try to predict how the industry will need to adapt in the future and anticipate those changes to maintain our competitive advantage.

“Currently, we have ordered the first vegan doner kebab made with similar proteins, which is our next venture to claim R&D funds.”

Sarah Hinchley, Key Account Manager at innovation finance specialist Catax, added: “Amird and his team have taken this British Friday night favorite and transported it into the 21st century, where food intolerances create challenges. endless for manufacturers.

“Kismet’s innovations are helping to make the company an international success, exporting to Spain, Cyprus, Scandinavia and around the world.

“That wouldn’t be possible if they didn’t produce the kinds of recipes that could open up new markets and satisfy changing consumer trends. They weren’t sure if they were eligible for the R&D tax relief and were shocked to learn how much eligible work they were actually doing, and that’s something we come across all the time.

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