The Wirral-based firm, recently baptised Bakemark UK after a merger between Arkady Craigmillar, Readi-Bake and Caravan Brill that ultimately falls under Dutch bakery firm CSM, earlier this year said that innovation was a priority to push its market share.
"About 12 per cent of products we sell are new," Kerrie Hampson, head of marketing at Bakemark UK, told FoodNavigator.com after the merger. "We have about 10 technologists on the site that concentrate on new developments," added David Astles this week, trade marketing manager at the 600-strong company.
Soaring wheat prices on 30 year global lows have eaten into margins for the stable £3 billion UK bakery industry over the past year and although some price relief is in sight with harvests stated to be marginally up on last year, the opportunity to save on production costs is an ongoing priority.
An extension of the Diamond product line, BakeMark UK introduced the new bread improver 'used at lower dosage rates, thus reducing cost in use,' to the stable bread market, that grew 2 per cent between 2001 and 2002, where over 99 per cent of bakers use some form of improver.
"Diamond 3000 is used at 0.75 per cent in white breads, compared to 1 per cent for the firm's Diamond 2000 - our biggest selling product - and 1.5 per cent in wholemeal products compared to 2 per cent for Diamond 2000," commented Astles.
In the competitive food industry, companies are increasingly using innovation investment to extend current lines, such as Bakemark UK's Diamond 3000, for immediate gains. The products can be more successful in terms of sales than new products and offer less risk than the launch of a totally new concept.
Although 'slightly more expensive' per kilo in comparison to the Diamond 2000 product, Astles claims that with the Diamond 3000 line extension bakers will end up with a less expensive loaf because they will use less of the improver.
This product builds on our well-established Diamond 2000, but as well as improving savings for the baker, Diamond 3000 will make the dough and bread less vulnerable to handling and more tolerant to flour changes, occurring at this time of the year, added Astles.
CSM, the Dutch food ingredients owner of Bakemark reported in August that it was considering the sale of its sugar confectionery unit in order to concentrate on its core bakery supplies and sugar operations - despite a very poor performance from the bakery unit in the first half of the year.
CSM reported a 22 per cent drop in first half net profits to €67.3 million, due in part to a one-off gain registered a year earlier but primarily to a 34 per cent drop in operating profits at the European bakery supplies business.
Yet it is these business-to-business activities (bakery ingredients and products, biochemicals and sugar ingredients) which are likely to form the core of the CSM business in the future, with the direct-to-consumer sugar confectionery arm seen as an increasingly poor fit.