david lambert and ross mendham

A Dragons’ Den winner has teamed up with engineers in Newcastle to employ “game changing” tech in the war on sugar.

Bare Naked Foods founder Ross Mendham, who is bankrolled by Dragon Peter Jones, has joined forces with Continuous Retorts, a Newcastle-based engineering firm, to launch a range of ready meals using new pasteurisation and sterilisation equipment that helps lower the levels of fat, salt and sugar in products.

Continuous Retorts has built a factory in Gosforth using the new equipment.

“We are looking to help the giants of the food industry with superior processing technologies that can be used to bring an end to some of the unacceptable practices of the past that are now seen to be putting people’s health at risk,” said managing director David Lambert.

Much of the food on supermarket shelves was traditionally processed in batch retorts, using technology that “dates back to the 1950s”, he added.

In order to ensure all products, especially those in the coldest parts of the retort, reached the required temperature to be safe to eat, “most of the food is over-processed and loses its natural flavour and appearance”, he claimed.

“To overcome these drawbacks many food manufacturers have had to resort to adding ­chemicals, such as lactic acid, so they can cook their products at lower temperatures,” he said. “Extra sugar, salt, fat and other unnecessary ingredients or additives are then added to mask the taste of the acid.”

Since appearing on the BBC reality show, Mendham has built a £1m turnover business creating gluten-free and fat-free noodles, pasta and rice. “I was looking to take the business to the next level; when I heard about the CRL technology, it sounded a perfect match for us,” he said.