The facility will be dedicated solely to the development and production of gluten-free crumb systems and should be operational within the next 12 months, Bowman Ingredients said.
It will feature the latest production equipment and processing technology to ensure that all coatings, products and ingredients are produced to a specification of less than 5parts per million (ppm) of gluten, it added.
Grow to £500M
The investment comes after recent research predicting the UK gluten-free market will grow in value to £500M by 2019, Bowman’s boss Rory Bowman said.
“Major supermarkets and restaurant chains are currently driving gluten-free products further into the mainstream in the UK and Europe to meet consumer demand,” he said.
“We believe that the gluten-free category presents food processors with a massive opportunity. A key focus is on the development of gluten-free crumb coatings and batters for fish and poultry, with no compromise on quality compared to standard coatings, whilst maintaining a clean label declaration.”
Gluten-free crumb systems already account for a “significant share” in Bowman’s total breadcrumb business, Bowman said.
“This investment marks a major step in our global business growth strategy,” he added. “Gluten-free crumb systems already account for a significant share in our total breadcrumb business and we are forecasting that this substantial growth story will continue.”
The firm currently has two production facilities and its headquarters in Hitchin, Hertfordshire and manufacturing sites in South Africa, Australia and Thailand.
Bowman Ingredients develops products for retailers and quick service restaurant chains worldwide.
These include coatings for frozen and chilled food including breadcrumbs, batter mixes, pre-dusts and dry mix marinades for value added meat, poultry, fish, potato and vegetable products.
Meanwhile, the Food and Drink Federation has launched a new guide to help food manufacturers correctly label food products containing gluten and adhere with the Food Information to Consumers regulation.
Gluten Labelling Best Practice: ‘How to label pre-packaged foods which include cereals containing gluten’ has been developed with support from Coeliac UK, Anaphylaxis Campaign and the British Retail Consortium.