Lantmännen Unibake invests millions in Milton Keynes factory

By Rod Addy contact

- Last updated on GMT

Appetite for gourmet burgers lies behind some of the Lantmännen Unibake UK investment
Appetite for gourmet burgers lies behind some of the Lantmännen Unibake UK investment
The UK’s appetite for gourmet burgers has prompted Lantmännen Unibake UK to invest £1.1m in a burger bun line at its Milton Keynes plant as part of a wider £4.4m spend to fuel growth.

The line in question produces Lantmännen Unibake UK’s Americana brand and own-label fast food breads, and more updates are scheduled for later in the year.

The company said the upgrades were in response to growth in the burger market, and its dedication to meeting increasing consumer and customer demand for high-quality baked goods.

“Not only is the UK burger market currently worth £3.3bn, but its popularity continues to grow, with growth in 2017 up by 3%​ [MCA Menu and Food Trends Report 2017],”​ said Tim Robinson, managing director at Lantmännen Unibake UK.

Gourmet buns

“To meet this demand, and ensure our customers are able to continue serving their customers on-trend, gourmet and quality classic buns, we are investing in our production capabilities – with this upgraded line being the first step of many.”

The changes to the line include a new automated packaging system and quality vision system, intended to ensure higher quality standards are met while reducing waste. The equipment was already operating in the factory, the company confirmed.

The largest improvement was an increase in capacity. The new technology has boosted total capacity by approximately 10%, significantly growing the tonnage produced each week.

The burger market evolution and popularity of burgers on menus had led to customers having higher expectations of burger meals, said Lantmännen Unibake UK.

The firm claimed customers were also increasingly demanding higher-quality burger buns, with 83% of pubs and restaurateurs​and 84% of consumers [MCA Pub & Restaurant Decision Maker Classic & Gourmet Burger Interview Report​ – January 2018],​agreeing that a high-quality bun was a key characteristic of a gourmet burger.

Willing to pay more

Consumers are willing to pay, on average, up to £1.25 more for their burger to come in a gourmet bun, according to Opeepl, Classic & Gourmet Burger Consumer Research – December 2017.

Lantmännen Unibake’s classic buns are made using a traditional American sponge and dough method to give a distinctive flavour and texture.

Richard Stowey, operations director at Lantmännen Unibake UK, said: “Operationally, this investment allows us to simultaneously increase our capacity and optimise our product quality for our customers, who will shortly be seeing the benefits​.”

Stowey was appointed to the operations director role​ just this year.

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1 comment

Sugary bread rolls?

Posted by David,

A typical white loaf of bread sold in the UK has no detectable sweetness to the taste. If the bread is good quality, it might actually taste of something. Generally it's bland, a background carrier for the filling. Nutritionally they can a low sugar content if ~3g sugar/ 100g bread.
Many burger rolls are sweetened. Some up to 6.5g sugar/ 100g bread. This creates a detectable sweetness which to many is unbreadlike and accordingly unwanted.
Coca-cola and even fruit juices e.g. orange juice are coming under the spot light for the amount of sugar they contain. Their sugar content is 9-10g/ 100 ml.
Thus some burger rolls are the half way house between the acceptable and the unacceptable and a challenge for type 1 diabetics short term blood sugar control and management of long term complications. For others the additional sugar is just unnecessary. Wouldn't it be nice if manufacturers updated their recipes to make their contribution to preventing a lowering of public health.

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