Northumbrian Fine Foods has completed the installation of a £1.2m oven at its Gateshead facility, creating 40 jobs.
Increasing production output by about 30%, the fully operational new bake line will be used for a wide range of biscuits, from everyday lines to ‘indulgent’ cookies and bake bars, including NFF’s Geobar brand.
The investment would help meet soaring demand for the supplier’s rapidly expanding range of biscuits, especially in the gluten-free sector, said managing director Stewart McLelland. “This investment will reinforce our leading position in the gluten-free sector and enable us to develop new markets, including export,” he added.
As well as supplying major supermarket own-label products, NFF makes gluten-free biscuits under the Prewett’s brand, with about 70% of the UK’s gluten-free sweet biscuit production carried out at the company’s premises in the North East. Prewett’s has seen a 98.9% increase in value sales to £2.6m in volumes up 66.9% [Nielsen 52 w/e 13 August 2016].
The boost to NFF’s production comes after exclusive research for The Grocer found more than a quarter of Brits now regularly buy free-from products, with 31% of those consumers citing ‘for my general health’ as the motive for their choice.