Kebab company gets £372K in R&D tax relief

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

The kebab manufacturer has received a tax rebate
The kebab manufacturer has received a tax rebate

Related tags: Supply chain

Kismet Kebabs, the halal doner food manufacturer, has netted more than £370,000 in government tax breaks after developing lactose-free doners.

The company said it was driven to innovate and remove milk from doner kebabs and chicken shawarma after becoming aware that a large number of customers had a food intolerance. Milk has traditionally been used in the making of kebabs as a binding, flavouring and texturising agent, as well as a colourant. 

It was one the innovation projects undertaken by the Essex-based company that qualified it for £372,422 in research and development (R&D) tax relief — the government tax incentive that rewards innovation.

Kismet kebabs had to contact every supplier of every ingredient they used to find out whether they contained lactose, and then begin to experiment with alternatives.

Early issues

Early issues encountered by production and NPD manager Eduarto Latiffi and his team included new recipes sticking to parts of the machinery, becoming too dry or disintegrating. He said that final trials involving a particular type of soya that could compensate for the lack of milk eventually proved successful.

Another R&D project involved altering recipes so the use of phosphates could be avoided and adjusting the temperature of ingredients to reduce wear on mincing machines. 

“We missed out on significant sums in the past because we just had no idea R&D tax relief existed. Second to that, we didn’t really understand quite how much R&D we were implementing. Receiving this kind of government recognition and support is transforming the company because the sums involved are so significant,”​ said Amird Devadasan, chief executive of Kismet Kebabs.  

“All of it is returned to develop the business further. 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 a dietary need of some kind, we’re trying to predict how the industry will have to adapt in the future and get ahead of these changes to maintain our competitive advantage. Currently we have commissioned the first like-for-like protein based vegan doner kebab, which is our next venture on claiming R&D funds.”​ 

International success

Sarah Hinchley, key account manager at innovation funding specialist Catax, said: ​“Kismet’s innovations are helping to make the company an international success story, exporting to Spain, Cyprus, Scandinavia and around the world. This wouldn’t be possible were they not producing the kinds of recipes that are capable of opening up new markets and satisfying changing consumer trends. 

“They weren’t sure they’d qualify for R&D tax relief and were shocked to learn how much qualifying work they were actually doing, and that’s something we encounter all the time.”

Related topics: NPD

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Manufacturer not a shop

Posted by Rod,

The company in question manufactures kebabs for the UK and international markets, although there may be kebab shops with the same name. Not sure if the business operates a retail franchise as well.

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That R&D claim sounds incredibly overbaked

Posted by Mark,

If I was an HMRC inspector reading this I would be opening an enquiry before I’d even finished reading the article. If you think a kebab shop is investing £1m+ in R&D then you’re a joker.

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