Food & Drink

We know things move quickly in the Food & Drink sector. New ingredients, new methods of manufacture, new packaging, new brands, new trends, new restaurants and bars, new ways to reach consumers – and always new competitors. That’s what makes it so exciting. 

The Future of Food

This speed of change, not least as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, means that the Food & Drink sector faces an unprecedented challenge but also a huge opportunity. The businesses which are the most agile and in tune with changing consumer trends will be best placed to reap the rewards as the landscape evolves – and that means your intellectual property needs to work harder for you than ever before.

Trusted advisor

That’s where we come in. Our attorneys have a genuine depth of experience in all things Food & Drink, covering the full length of value chain from soil to consumer, including: human food and nutrition; beverages; animal and pet food and nutrition; alternative protein sources; alternative meats; vegan foods; confectionery; nutritional supplements; baby food; ingredient innovation; manufacturing technology; packaging; coffee shops; coffee and vending machines; restaurants and bars; agriculture and horticulture; poultry and animal breeding.

We focus on you

Whether you’re a multi-national, a high growth private company or an early stage start up - wherever you are in the food (or drink) chain, we would love to work with you.
We offer the full range of services you might need, including: patent, trade mark and design protection; strategic IP advice; freedom to operate; ​brand clearance searches; competitor landscaping; due diligence and dealing with investors; innovation capture; ​oppositions; advice on infringements; dispute resolution; advice on international IP protection; and much more!

If you would like to know more and find out how we might be able to help your Food & Drink business, please get in touch. We would love to be part of your journey. But more than that, we understand your sector. Against the commercial backdrop which is already familiar to us, we work hard to get to know your business and its own individual needs, providing tailored, pragmatic advice and building a genuine partnership.

Food technology and IP

Consumers are driving the food revolution. Movements such as Farm to Fork and Beauty From Within are no longer concepts but a way of life many are choosing for the long-term.

The growing demand for sustainable, clean and healthy foods and beverages has seen a whole new influx of innovative companies disrupt the market. Functional foods, alternative meats, and supplements have never been more popular. Companies that understand and adapt to these new trends are reaping the (commercial) rewards.

Whether you are an established business or a start-up, our experience covers the full supply chain and can help you protect some of your most valuable assets: your patents, designs and trade marks. Our services include advice and protection in the following fields:

  • agriculture and horticulture

  • crop science

  • functional foods

  • ingredient innovation

  • packaging

  • production and processing

  • machinery

Are you one of the disrupters in the Food & Drink market? 

Are you keen to defend and expand your current market position? Effective IP protection can help future-proof your business and build value in your business.
Ask us about our IP toolbox which will help you create, maintain and grow a genuine competitive advantage.

You may already have thought about trade marks and designs, but also keep in mind that patents can protect all kinds of innovation in the Food & Drink sector, for example:

  • methods to get proteins from insects

  • ingredients to make plant based meat look good on the BBQ

  • products that protect crops against pests without using chemicals

  • recyclable plastic packaging to reduce the plastic soup

​So make sure you think laterally and talk to our experts early on during development, so you don’t accidentally miss a golden opportunity to protect your valuable innovation.

We’ve been keeping up with some of these disrupters ourselves. Read some of our interviews here. 

CRISPR Beef: coming to a plate near you soon?

Cultured or lab-grown meat promises to revolutionise the way meat products are produced and consumed. Cutting out resource-intensive animal farming and instead growing food products in lab cultures allows meat to be produced in a more ethical and environmentally friendly manner.

We recently covered 5 challenges faced by the cultured meat industry. Now, a start-up named SCiFi Foods has announced a major breakthrough which could address two of these challenges – price and scale-up of production.

Meat in a lab - suspend your disbelief

SCiFi Foods have applied CRISPR-based methods of genetic modification to alter how beef cells grow in a cell culture. Unmodified beef cells tend to cluster together on surfaces or attach to one another when grown in liquid suspension. This limits the number of cells that can be grown in a bioreactor, due to the need for microcarriers (usually plastic beads) for the cells to grow upon. By applying CRISPR to genetically modify the beef cells, SCiFi Foods are now able to grow the cells in suspension, allowing for a much higher density of cells.

Blended burgers - cultured meat meets plant-based ingredients

The newly modified cells will allow greater scale-up of production, which will in turn lead to a reduction in the price of the final product. SCiFi Foods plan to further reduce the price of their product by manufacturing a burger using a blend of both plant-based ingredients and cultured beef cells.

The company plans to open a pilot plant in the San Francisco Bay Area by the second half of 2024. SCiFi Foods expect to be able to produce a blended burger for under $10 at the pilot plant stage. A price as low as $1 could be achieved once large-scale production begins.

Navigating US & EU policy

Another challenge we reported on is government policy. SCiFi Foods are hoping that they will have the green light to market their burgers in the US by the time their pilot plant opens. The US, however, has a much more relaxed stance on GMOs than many other major markets.
Last year, the EU published a report signalling for a desire to revise the current GMO regulation. But, with public consultation ongoing in Europe, it remains to be seen how much appetite there will be for approval of genetically modified cultured meat products in the EU.

Here to help

It will be interesting to see what the outcome of SCiFi Food’s blended burger pilot scheme yields.

For more information about genetically modified cultured meat products please contact Sam Bailey, or your usual Kilburn & Strode advisor.

Read related article 5 challenges faced by the cultured meat industry

Recommended reading

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