UK’s first free-from factory starts production

By Matt Atherton contact

- Last updated on GMT

The first free-from factory was opened this month, claimed food coatings firm Bowman Ingredients
The first free-from factory was opened this month, claimed food coatings firm Bowman Ingredients

Related tags: Gluten-free diet

The UK’s first ‘free-from’ factory has been opened, claimed food coatings firm Bowman Ingredients.

The firm’s £8M Bedford factory is dedicated solely to producing gluten-free, egg and dairy-free food coatings, including batter mixes and dry-mix marinades. The 3,716m2​ factory began production this month, Bowman Ingredients confirmed.

Retailers were driving growth of the free-from sector, and the European gluten-free market was worth about £600M, the ingredients firm claimed. Its new facility meant it could supply the volumes needed to keep up with the growing demand for free-from foods, it added.

‘Increasing demand’

“We have been at the forefront of innovation in gluten-free and free-from food coatings for 15 years, but this investment takes us to a whole new level,”​ said Bowman Ingredients ceo Rory Bowman. “We are now able to supply the volumes we need to meet increasing demand from our customers in the UK and Europe.

Free-from factory

  • UK’s first free-from factory opened this month
  • £8M investment
  • 3,716m2​ factory

“As well as expanding production, our dedicated gluten-free, egg and dairy-free blending plant will allow us to develop new products, increase flexibility and improve response times.”

The new facility has the capacity to produce 15,000t of gluten-free, egg and dairy-free coatings a year – the equivalent to 41t a day. The facility also included new manufacturing and blending plants, and new warehousing offices.

15,000t of gluten-free, egg and dairy-free coatings

Bowman Ingredients makes coatings for frozen and chilled foods. It also claimed to supply coatings for many well-known chicken products, served in market-leading fast-food restaurants across the UK, Europe and Russia.

Free-from featured in Cargill’s 2017 top chocolate and cocoa trends​ earlier this month. Consumer demand for free-from was increasing, particularly in lactose-free, it claimed.

Warburtons, Genius Foods and Northumbrian Fine Foods were founding members of the Gluten Free Industry Association​, it was revealed on January 6. The association was formed in response to the rapidly growing market for gluten-free products, it said. Warburtons subsequently launched a gluten-free crumpet​ a week later.

Meanwhile, gluten-free product sales were up 27% in 2016, according to a report by Coeliac UK.

Rising gluten-free sales – at a glance

  • Sales up 27% last year
  • 13% of British people choose gluten-free
  • Supermarkets now stock 80% of all gluten-free products made

Related topics: Food Ingredients, Health & Nutrition

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