Glebe Farm Foods eyes Europe for gluten-free oat expansion

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

The additional mill will see capacity grow five times, says Glebe Farm Foods
The additional mill will see capacity grow five times, says Glebe Farm Foods

Related tags: European union, United kingdom

Gluten-free oat specialist Glebe Farm Foods is investing £5-10m ($8-15m) in a second oat mill to keep up with UK demand and assist expansion into European markets.

The UK family-owned firm’s second gluten-free oat mill will see capacity grow to five times its current production. Set for full completion within a year, Glebe Farm Foods will start operations of the flaking section of the mill within the next two months.

Philip Rayner, co-founder and technical director at the firm, said with two oat mills the company could feed into increased British demand and also commit to European expansion.

“We see a lot of demand and growth in Britain. Britain tends to lead the EU, probably because we’ve got a strong supermarket standard regime in place and also a celiac society which is very active…The European market is not as developed in gluten-free as Britain is, but there are various countries with promise – Italy is quite interesting, as well as Germany, Spain and France,”​ he told BakeryandSnacks.com.

Expansion into Europe would be done via additional distributors, he said. Glebe Farm Foods already worked with one ingredients distributor in Europe – a deal struck last year.

UK, Europe and beyond

Beyond Europe, Rayner said the company wanted to expand into other global markets.

“There are manufacturers out there. In the Middle East and Asia, for example, there are companies - it’s a buoyant market with interest,”​ he said.

In Asia, China held plenty of promise for expansion, he said, because of the “large population and lack of wheat in the food chain”,​ as well as a continued desire for high-quality western products.

Working closely with local distributors to enter into these markets would be vital, he said. “The local knowledge and relationships with manufacturers is very important.”  

Farm to flour

Glebe Farm Foods started out as a family farm back in 1955 and still worked with its family-owned farms as well as other growers for a steady British gluten-free oat supply.

“Our agricultural background makes all the difference,”​ he said, enabling the firm to secure stringent quality controls from farm level through to the end oatmeal or oat flake product.

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