The facility on the border of Wiltshire and Berkshire near Hungerford would employ 25 staff and produce up to 2,000t of product annually when running at full capacity, according to the business.
The plant, which covers an area of 1,858m2 and has already begun processing, will be able to produce extruded shapes, flakes or granola for products that can be milk-free as well as gluten-free.
“It is currently dedicated to producing cereals for our Freee by Doves Farm brand,” a company spokeswoman told Food Manufacture. “We do a lot of business to business with bakeries and other food manufacturers, so there is a real possibility of providing contract manufactured cereals or private label.”
The factory is manufacturing Doves Farm’s Fibre Flakes, Cereal Flakes, Corn Flakes and Chocolate Stars under newly reformulated recipes.
The company said it had seen significant growth in the gluten-free cereal category over the past 10 years, driven by consumers seeking to lead healthy lifestyles and coeliacs seeking healthy and tasty options.
Building of the plant began in December 2015 and its completion would see Doves Farm Foods move production of the cereals from Italy back to the UK, it said. UK-manufactured toasters and dryers are used in the plant, in support of British manufacturers, it added.
“Consumer interest in gluten-free breakfast cereals with added health and eco benefits and ‘buying British’ has risen massively in recent months,” said Doves Farm founder Clare Marriage.
“As a leader in the gluten-free breakfast cereal category and a family-owned British business, we are keen to grow our presence and impact in this area and know the new plant will give us the chance to do this, whilst allowing us to continue to offer great quality breakfast cereals that are now suitable for an even wider range of diets and allergy sufferers.”
Doves Farm has customers in 26 countries – predominantly in Europe. The business has two brands: Doves Farm and the rigorously tested gluten-free range Freee by Doves Farm, which incorporates 62 products including cereals, flour, pasta, cookies and oat bars.