Woman on sweet biscuit production line

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Modern Baker will work with food manufacturers to apply its ‘blend-tech’ to ultra-processed items

Modern Baker is to apply its healthier treatment of ultra-processed foods to a wealth of categories, after receiving a £450k government grant.

The payout from Innovate UK – the government’s innovation agency – will fund trials with other food manufacturers, allowing Modern Baker to apply its specialised food technology across categories.

Starting with sweet bakery, followed by breakfast cereals, ready meals and pasta, Modern Baker will spend the next 12 months trialling its ‘blend-tech’ – a special blend of ingredients created using targeted fermentation to amplify beneficial compounds – across a variety of food staples.

The business also plans to conduct research into precision fermentation and using artificial intelligence to “optimise the nutrient profile” of its products.

“Biscuits are very much in our sights – as are basic cakes,” said Modern Baker co-founder Leo Campbell.

“We have actually done some trials with croissants, and they have been way more successful in terms of their look and feel and taste than anybody thought; the layering was beautiful.”

Sweet bakery items made using Modern Baker’s blend-tech would be being piloted in an unnamed retailer’s stores by Christmas, Campbell told The Grocer.

The £450k is the sixth successive grant awarded to Modern Baker by Innovate UK in six years, bringing the total to £4m.

The business launched the latest iteration of the high-tech Superloaf, its gut healthy bread brand, exclusively into Marks & Spencer in March.

The mass-produced loaves – which promise to be full of “bioactive plant-based compounds” – are co-manufactured and co-packaged by Hovis.

Marks & Spencer had been “unbelievably supportive of our bid for this grant”, said Campbell,

“We are in discussion with them about them becoming directly involved in this research work over the next 12 months.”

Growing awareness around the potential public health risks associated with ultra-processed foods had also helped Modern Baker’s cause, said Campbell.

“Not a week goes by in which the case for systemic change isn’t made.” Despite this, “very few people are offering solutions,” he said. “We’ve been quietly working in the background for this moment.”