The £500,000 ($834,000) center, at the company’s Bicester Headquarters in Oxfordshire, UK, houses a mini bread plant, six oven varieties, processing equipment for bread and confectionery and presentation facilities. There is also in-house expertise and application support.
Food manufacturers can meet their retail customers at the facility to develop new concepts and ideas, which are then tested and fine-tuned on bakery equipment before going into full-scale production.
Bakels argues that this will enable manufacturers to shorten the development cycle for new products.
Greg Woodhead, Bakels product development manager, said this is done by “helping to refine new product briefs, by use of our large product development team of six and bakery application team of 12 to work on new products.”
Woodhead told Bakeryandsnacks.com: “Briefs can be more tightly defined and products tested without the need to go back to the factory.”
He added: “No retailer and no bakery manufacturer has a facility such as this – retailers can talk to their suppliers about developing products and Bakels has every type of oven and even a bread plant on offer so that products can be trialed quickly and briefs amended without the supplier needing to go back to their own site to see if the product works on their equipment.”
The main product types expected to be developed are bread and confectionery products such as cakes.
Bakels identified four product growth areas:
Healthy and artisanal breads – wholegrain, sours, seeded, low GI, fibre, natural preservatives.
Indulgence - icings, caramels, stolen, brioche, artisan doughnuts, éclairs, premium chocolate (‘hybrid shopper’), retro flavors, fillings.
Gluten free – artisanal bread, multiseed bread, white bread, experimental younger generation, confectionery mixes.
Convenience – shelf-life extension, eating on the move, ‘fresh at your convenience’.
British Bakels managing director and Bakels Group management board member, Paul Morrow, said: “No UK bakery manufacturer or their customers will have a facility such as this. We shall bring them together to discuss new concepts and product ideas with the support of our highly qualified product development and application teams, a total of 18 people, each of whom have significant experience in the baking industry.”
The baking center will also be made available to Bakels’ in-store bakery customers and the craft sector for staff training as well as to its sister companies throughout Europe.
The Bakels group operates in 35 countries, and has 18 manufacturing sites that produce a wide range of dry blended ingredients and vegetable oil or sugar based wet products.
Worldwide it is also involved in the production of fruit fillings and glazes, margarines, emulsifiers, chocolate and frozen products.