Warburtons is aiming to knock Genius off the top spot in free-from bakery after relaunching its gluten-free range.

The company - which has given its free-from bread the sub-brand Newburn Bakehouse - is to expand its gluten-free range from seven to about a dozen products by the end of the year, starting with a new baguette and seeded loaf. It is also working on smaller pack sizes to target coffee shops and other foodservice outlets.

Warburtons’ ambition is to double its free-from sales over the next year and ultimately overtake Genius as the number one free-from bakery brand. While Warburtons’ £5.7m free-from sales in 2012 were less than half that of Genius’ £11.9m [Nielsen 52 w/e 13 October 2012], Warburtons’ sales had grown 143% year-on-year compared with the 12.6% increase in sales of Genius.

Ahead of its free-from re-launch, Warburtons improved the product recipes and conducted market research with consumers.

“They loved a major food brand in the area but wanted to see it taken really seriously,” said Warburtons free-from director Chris Hook. “Creating the Newburn Bakehouse sub-brand allows us to demarcate the range from the core and really major on a separate free-from bakery, with a dedicated team.”

Warburtons launched free-from in 2010 after building a dedicated bakery in Newburn. Along with snacks, wraps and thins, free-from has been an important source of growth as sales of sliced bread have fallen.

“We’re pushing hard to become a broader baking business,” said Warburtons chairman Jonathan Warburton.

Warburtons free-from products are listed in all major supermarkets except Sainsbury’s, which accounts for 22.4% of free-from sales in grocery [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 15 April 2012].