The expanded facility in Fringford Mill site near Bicester, Oxfordshire, will focus on research into bakery industrial processes, development of industrial applications and training of new and existing customers.
Puratos hopes the facility will help customers reduce product development time by offering new industry-standard equipment in a laboratory environment that enables safe and easy testing of ingredients and recipes.
Customers expected to use the site include large-scale industrial manufacturers of cake and other baked goods, and end retailers including supermarkets and on-the-go food businesses.
Outsourced development team
Puratos UK managing director Julian Lewis told BakeryandSnacks that customers increasingly use its innovation capabilities as an outsourced development team.
“We have spent many months collaborating with key industrial partners,” he said.
“The detailed design of the facility and its equipment has been guided by these relationships, ensuring our investment closely matches their large scale plants as well as meeting their future needs.”
Puratos has invested €1.5m ($1.7m) in the centre, which offers facilities including:
- Rapid testing and development of bakery solutions tailored to large-scale manufacture
- Development of applications and training in patisserie
- Technical, taste and production expertise in chocolate in patisserie
- Consumer testing to validate new products and applications
- Specialist pilot equipment providing a realistic production environment to test new products and trial production
“By expanding our industrial development capabilities at Fringford, it will enable us to better help our customers enhance their businesses through research, development, training and inspiration,” said Lewis.
Originally a working mill
The site of the Fringford Innovation Centre, which was acquired by Puratos in 1984, dates back to the 11th century when it was originally a working mill and was featured in the Domesday book. The original mill still exists on the site.
View the above video from the opening of the innovation center for an interview with Puratos UK managing director Julian Lewis on the new facility and the trends shaping product development.
Puratos UK is part of the family-owned Puratos group that was founded in 1919 and offers a range of products and raw materials for the bakery, patisserie and chocolate sectors in more than 100 countries worldwide.
The business has an annual turnover of €1.3bn ($1.5bn) and employs 7,000 people across the globe. It has 55 production plants in 43 countries and subsidiaries in 68 countries.
Puratos said it continually invests in R&D, which accounts for 2.5% of the group’s revenue. The development at Fringford in Oxfordshire is part of the company’s global investment in its network of 58 innovation centres worldwide. The company recently opened a €15m ($17m) Inspirience centre in Brussels focussed on R&D-led innovations.