Innovation and enterprise blog

The British Library Business & IP Centre can help you start, run and grow your business

3 posts from July 2016

29 July 2016

A finger on the pulse of sustainable food business

At the Business & IP Centre we frequently help customers starting and growing food related businesses.    

2016 is the International Year of Pulses 

This year two sustainable food topics have caught my attention. We are halfway through the UN’s International Year of Pulses (IYP2016) to 'position pulses as a primary source of protein and other essential nutrients'. And secondly, the growth in the consumption of insects as a nutritious source of food, or entomophagy to give its official name. I recently helped two examples of start-up businesses using the Business & IP Centre creating innovative food products with insects.  


Source Wikipedia



The IYP 2016 portal aims to heighten public awareness of nutritional benefits of pulses as a superfood. The hope is that it will result in sustainable food production, global food security and better nutrition for a growing world population. This site showcases ways in which we can ‘Love Pulses’ (see Twitter hashtag #LovePulses) with food competitions, recipes, photo gallery and a whole lot of inspiration to get your pulses racing.


Source Wikipedia



Only 6% of UK adults consider themselves vegetarians

According to Mintel report Menu Flavours 2016 (available in the Business & IP Centre) only 6% of UK adults consider themselves vegetarians, while '54% of diners say that they enjoy dishes which contain a lot of vegetables'. Mintel puts this down to using 'new interesting flavours and methods'.  This is great news for pulses, and certainly over the last ten years we have all seen a growth in by-products such as hummus, falafel and bean burgers. 


Mintel chart
Figure 24: Selected behaviours relating to healthy eating, by age, November 2015 Base: 2,000 internet users aged 16+
Mintel Report - Attitudes Towards Healthy Eating February 2016




There are innovative examples on IYP2016 of new product developments by young entrepreneurs, such as the award winning Crisps made from Lupin flowers by Charlotte Reynolds, ice cream from bean milk, bean jam etc. 


Now that I have convinced you to eat more pulses I am also going tempt you with the insect protein market.  London South Bank University is championing entomophagy and suggests we can introduce it in our diet for food sustainability. You may squirm at insects in our diet, but we once had the same feelings about lobster, prawns and even sushi, before they became acceptable in our Western diet.

Insects could solve the problem of world food sustainability

Lobsters were once called ‘cockroaches of the sea’, and were cheap to buy. There are a few reports on the market for insects such as Canadean’s ‘Foresight: Edible Insects’. Insects are seen by food experts and nutritionists as a solution because they are more sustainable than other food sources. For example, insects do not require a lot of land to farm, and edible insects are more protein-dense then beef. 

There are some countries and societies who are large consumers of insects, apparently the Bodo tribe in Northern India have long traditions and celebrations of insects as part of their diet. Research by insect production company Chapul also finds that 80% of countries around the world have insects on the menu one way or another. There are apparently two billion people who already eat insects with over two thousand species of insects considered to be ‘edible’.  Chapul’s e-commerce store is selling cricket powder and cricket bars online. Closer to home, there is Grub selling protein bars with cricket flour.



Paradigm shift required

The two businesses I met in the Centre were on the cutting edge of food technology with their use of insects. They were well aware of the paradigm shift that would be required to reach a mainstream customer base. which such innovative products that are not in our diet currently. Both businesses thought that the Television program ‘I’m a Celebrity get me out of here’ was something of a double-edged sword in promoting entomophagy. It is good for exposing edible insects but also may be a turn-off for some audiences. 

However for businesses like these, it would certainly be rewarding and satisfying to win Western consumers over and change behaviour on eating insects.  One of the strategies discussed is to engage with the younger generation who are generally more experimental, and who also want to actively change the world for the better. One example of this is at the Shambala Festival, where in 2016 they have made a meat and fish free policy, but they do have an insect bar.

I haven’t yet  eaten insects knowingly, but I am certainly a pulses fan and incorporate it in my diet. Be it pulses, insects or something else innovative in the market. This really is an opportunity for us to try new sustainable ingredients and hopefully help towards more sustainable food production, technology and market.

Written by Seema Rampersad


18 July 2016

Is your best content above the fold?

In today’s age you need to catch the eye of your customer, before they get a chance to scroll down the page

Back in the pre-digital days, there was no greater achievement for a print journalist than to see their story appear “above the fold” on the front page of a newspaper. This indicated that their story was the most important news of the day, and had worth and value that warranted it begin given prime newsprint real estate. It ensured that anyone who picked up or glanced at the newspaper on that given day would see their story first.


These days, although pixels are in far greater supply than newsprint, the phrase “above the fold” still has a similar meaning when it comes to getting your website visitors’ attention. Though it would be more accurately described as “above the scroll”—that is, what’s visible to the eye before you scroll down the page—the implications are much the same for this piece of digital real estate. Whether your goal is sales or simply to get eyeballs on your published content, above the fold content is key if you’re looking for a high conversion rate. In fact, if you’re looking to maximise the effect your website has on visitors, your above-the-fold web design is a primary factor you need to take into consideration.

So what, exactly, does this mean? Many believe that when a website visitor lands on a landing page for the first time, their level of attention is acute and focused on what they’re looking at. In reality, however, the opposite is true. First impressions are made virtually within seconds of a website visitor’s eyeballs landing on your page. They are not spending the time to evaluate carefully if this is where they want to be—they’re either staying or bouncing on an instinctual basis. Assuming that your visitor is really motivated to be on your site is where many people go wrong.

This can seem quite arbitrary and cutthroat—and that’s because it is! The internet is essentially a massive attention-seeking contest with a target audience of people whose attention spans are becoming increasingly shorter. But the good news is in the quest for conversion, there are steps you can definitely take to improve your above-the-fold web design and convert more visitors.

Pass the blink test: Stand up and move two paces away from your computer screen. Can you still see what the landing page is about or what the top piece of featured content is? If not, your above-the-fold content might be too understated.

Don’t make them scroll or navigate: The call to action or main goal of the page should be apparent to the visitor right away. Don’t make them work to figure out what you want them to do. Make it clear and immediate in your above-the-fold layout.

Make sure your headline matches your social copy: If you have promoted your page on a social network as a means to get visitors onto your landing page, make sure it lives up to its promise right away. If the headline copy on the landing page doesn’t appear to immediately follow on from or correspond to what you promoted on social, your bounce rate will skyrocket as you’ll be viewed as disingenuous right away.

Tailor to devices: If your above-the-fold content looks great on mobile but is lacklustre on desktop, you’re not doing yourself any favours. It’s true that as screen sizes vary, there is a wide variance in what constitutes “above the fold”, but that’s no excuse to fall short. Make sure that no matter where someone finds you—mobile, tablet, or desktop—your above-the-fold web design is tailored with maximum conversion in line.

Empowering your business website is no small task, but there are several ways to ensure your site has the best chance at attracting - and retaining - those all-important eyeballs. Empower your business website today with online services from providing everything from your domain name to a complex dedicated hosting solution, UK2 help you succeed online.

UK2 Group are a Corporate Partner to the Business & IP Centre

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05 July 2016

Celebrating British IP Day – get IP savvy

Today is British IP Day – but what does Intellectual Property (IP) mean for you and your business?

Well, it might mean beginning to take more control over your brand, exploring new opportunities to commercialise your ideas by selling creative pieces and designs. Or indeed revisiting the business plan and opening up global marketplaces with licensing options.

Being savvy with your intellectual property can make your business scale faster. If you know how.

Protecting your ideas

We know how, and those experts who are on hand in the Business & IP Centre can advise you straight away on what to do to on questions ranging from how to avoid copyright infringement through to what can be trade marked in the UK.

Knowledge is power and by knowing your rights and how to navigate the process to protect your ideas, your business will be stronger.

Award-winning entrepreneur Dana Elemara, founder of Arganic says, “if I hadn't have gone to the intellectual property course at the British Library, I wouldn't have even thought about trademarking my business name”.



“Branding is a byword for success”

British Library Business & IP Centre Ambassador and businessman, Stephen Fear, has started-up and succeeded across many sectors in his business career and offers this advice; Brands and branding are important because they represent consistency and that is a byword for success. 

Any entrepreneur wishing to build his or her business must first achieve consistency before they can obtain riches. By building a brand you are telling the world that you intend to be around for a very long time. You tell them that you and your business can be relied on to deliver a consistent high quality service or product.

You tell them that they don't need to worry about making their purchase because you will stand by it. If it isn't up to scratch you will replace it immediately and investigate what went wrong. 

Building a business is like building a relationship. The person you are doing this with needs to know that you are committed to the relationship. Convince your potential buyer of that by being genuine and doing what you say 'every time' will cause a line to form at your door. A line of fans rather than just customers. Fans who will buy from you time and time again. Create a brand & the rest will follow.



So, on this inaugural British IP Day, spare some time to think about any untapped assets and creative skills in your business which could be optimised. The Business & IP Centre is here to help you. Stay up to date with new dates for workshops and webinars helping address these and other issues by signing up for our e-newsletter.

British IP Day has been established by the Alliance for Intellectual Property to celebrate the huge contribution that IP makes to the UK.

Written by Clare Harris