The investment comes just six months after brothers William and Charles Eid returned to the helm of the business (previously called Honeytop Speciality Foods), and follows the creation of a joint venture with Swiss food group Aryzta.
Signature Flatbreads, which employs 550 people at its units in Dunstable, supplies all of the major UK retailers, and foodservice operators including some leading quick service restaurants, with flatbreads, such as naans and tortilla wraps. The company also supplies other baked goods such as crumpets and pancakes.
The new, fully automated plant will see the addition of two new production lines built in a converted warehouse space. It is intended to meet increasing demand for high quality bread and to deliver new and innovative products early next year.
New production lines
The first automated line, with a 2m wide spiral chiller, is under construction and due to be commissioned on November 19. It will be used for high volume production with a capacity of some 50,000 items an hour. The second line will be built alongside the first line within the next two years.
Charles Eid, joint chief executive of Signature Flatbreads, said: “The line that is coming in is going to be extremely flexible and able to create every conceivable flatbread, bar tortillas which are hot-pressed. We have to respond to the price deflation that we see and the way to do that is to build giant lines that deliver the same consistency and quality that you might expect.
“This investment not only consolidates our position as the market leader but also shows our commitment to improving quality and productivity in a very competitive marketplace.
Company’s investment agenda
“The investment also puts innovation very much at the forefront of the company’s agenda. The new plant ensures we are able to help our customers cater to the latest trends, whether that means developing exciting new flavour combinations or bringing to market completely new sandwich carriers or meal accompaniments.”
Signature Flatbreads, which supplies primarily own-label but also some Deli Planet branded products, is launching a new “more upmarket, premium” brand into a major retailer this month (October), which will then be rolled out to other supermarkets.
“We are starting with a range of Indian breads but that will expand into virtually everything we do,” said Charles Eid.
“We are looking to build on our own brands in addition to the Planet Deli, which is already out there.”