The company said it will invest in a new line at its Florida, US plant to increase production capacity by 31 million loaves annually, in order to meet the demand. Many food manufacturers are finding that sales of their premium segments are growing as demand for artisan and luxury products rises due to rising consumer affluence. "Consumer demand for our premium fresh breads - especially whole grain and natural varieties - has never been stronger," said Pepperidge Farm president Pat Callaghan. "This new facility will enable us to meet that demand." The health benefits of whole grain products have recently been highlighted by researchers, particularly in reducing cardiovascular disease and cholesterol, encouraging a boom in the market. In July, a Global Industry Analysts report suggested the whole grain and high fibre food market will reach $21bn (€15bn) by 2010. The market for natural products has also increased as consumers become more aware of the foods they are consuming. Pepperidge Farm said yesterday that its most popular brands are whole grain, natural, swirl and farmhouse breads, highlighting the trends for healthier and free-from products as well as the artisan breads. "Pepperidge Farm premium fresh breads have averaged double-digit sales growth in the rapidly expanding Southern region for the past three years," the company claimed yesterday. Pepperidge Farm said the construction is expected to take a year, beginning summer 2008. The company produces premium bakery products, cookies, crackers and frozen foods, and is the number 2 fresh bread brand in the US, it claims. Pepperidge Farm, part of Campbell Soup Company, said the company has eight production sites and over $1bn in sales annually.