London based La Fornaia produces premium quality and hand-crafted breads for the food service and major retailers, with sales of around £23m. The acquisition will allow Canada Bread, which is 88 per cent owned by Maple Leaf Bakery, to expand its presence within the growing UK premium bread market. A recent report by Datamonitor said artisan bread and rolls accounted for 51.9 per cent of the global bread market, which is set to increase by 12.6 per cent to $128.6bn by 2011. The report said this growth is aided by the demands for luxury products as a result of the rise in living standards and consumer wealth. "This acquisition will significantly expand our presence in the high-end artisan bread market and broadens the portfolio of products we can supply to our customers," said Richard Lan, chief executive officer of Canada Bread. Last year, the company bought British baker Harvestime in a bid to move into the UK and European speciality bakery markets, where Mapleleaf previously only produced and sold bagels. The company claims the bagel category has been growing by 20 per cent annually since the company entered the market with the New York Bagel brand. "Further growth for bagels and specialty products in the U.K. and European markets will be achieved through branded and private label development," the company has said. Maple Leaf UK now runs seven factories within the UK and produces bagels, croissants, in-store bakery and artisan breads in the UK and Europe. Maple Leaf Foods manufactures bakery and meat products across Canada, the US and UK.