A fast-growing Irish free-from bread brand is about to gain its first UK listings, in Asda.
BFree Foods, which launched a year ago to supply fresh and frozen wheat-free, gluten-free and dairy-free bread, is making its UK retail debut in April with the rollout of a high-fibre, 99-calorie multigrain wrap to 434 Asda stores.
The baker pitches its products as healthier and less calorific than many rivals lines, and claims a taste test of 140 UK coeliacs found 87% preferred BFree to their current bread.
The brand was created by Cuisine de France founder Ronan McNamee and already supplies the UK foodservice market through 3663, and is in discussions with other contract UK caterers and wholesalers.
The full BFree retail range includes a soft white loaf and rolls, and a brown seeded loaf and rolls, and is sold in Irish chains including Dunnes Stores, Tesco, Musgrave and BWG.
Competition in the UK free-from bread market is intense, with Warburtons announcing in January that it was aiming to knock Genius off the top spot after relaunching its gluten-free range under the sub-brand Newburn Bakehouse. Warburtons is set to expand its gluten-free line-up from seven to about a dozen products by the end of the year.
Sales of gluten-free and wheat-free foods have risen 34.9% by value year-on-year to £170m on unit sales up 29.8% [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 23 December 2012].
BFree’s news comes as Knead Bakery announced it was launching two breads free from gluten, wheat, dairy, casein, yeast and sugar into Whole Foods Market later this month. London-based Knead, which already makes free-from cookies and brownies, said there was demand for a bread that could cater for multiple allergies and intolerances.