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Hospitality R&D spending surges in 2021

The UK hospitality industry increased its research and development (R&D) spending by 29% in 2021, according to data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

R&D investments help to create jobs and make the UK industry more competitive

By Kate Malczewski

Last year, hospitality firms in the UK managed to grow their R&D investment in the face of pandemic-induced challenges such as supply chain issues, rent debts and staff shortages.

The total spend jumped from £56 million (US$73.5m) in 2020 to £72m (US$94.5m) in 2021, marking nearly a full recovery to 2019’s pre-pandemic figure of £73m (US$95.8m).

Innovation funding specialist Catax, which analysed the ONS data, said R&D spend plays an important role in the economy because it creates skilled jobs and makes UK companies more competitive globally.

“The pandemic caused untold disruption to the hospitality industry. No one was safe but the sector launched a fightback in 2021 and the level of R&D spending has almost battled back to where it was pre-pandemic,” said Mark Tighe, Catax CEO.

“This is a hugely positive sign and testament to the resilience of the industry and the successful support measures rolled out by the government in the eye of the storm.”

Catax also pointed out that the hospitality industry ‘significantly’ outperformed UK industry as a whole, which grew its R&D spending by 5.6% to reach £42 billion (US$55.1bn).

“Hospitality firms use R&D in surprising ways from software to machinery and food science. As a result, R&D spending is incredibly important to the future success of the industry,” Tighe concluded.

For an in-depth look at how the on-trade fared last year, check out our global bar report.

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