Barbara Richardson, owner and founder, Hungry Scarecrow, turned to the innovation centre to develop her own gluten-free flour, which was as ‘clean’ as possible to use in gluten-free pizza bases and wraps.
Brewers, bakers, chocolate makers
Richardson’s business, set up in 2015, focuses on consumers looking for an alternative to wheat flour products, for consumers with allergens and health issues.
The range includes pizza breads, tortilla wraps (yeast free) and bread sticks, made from white and wholemeal spelt with added oats, which are also available gluten free.
Richardson said she received good feedback back on her pizza bases made from gluten-free flour after trials with a couple of foodservice chains so she sought advice and support from scientists at the Food Innovation Centre in Nottingham.
“The Food Innovation Centre has the expertise to support me with the development of my own blend of gluten-free flour,” she said.
“My background is as a cook and chef – I am not a scientist. If I can go to the large chains and say that my flour and my products have been developed with support from scientists based at the University of Nottingham, it gives me good credence.”
As well as supporting with the blend of the gluten-free flour, the Food Innovation Centre team is giving Richardson advice on microbiological testing and shelf life.
The Food Innovation Centre has now helped over 100 food and drink businesses, ranging from brewers to bakers to chocolate makers, to tackle some of their innovation challenges or create inventive products.
More efficient processes
Support includes advice on how to develop new products, scale up, use new ingredients, improve nutritional profiles and make processes more efficient.
It has helped firms to bring to life pioneering products to take advantage of some of the latest consumer trends and demands.
The centre, based at the University of Nottingham’s Sutton Bonington Campus as part of the Division of Food Sciences, is a funded academic/commercial collaboration that provides free specialist innovation support to small and medium-sized food and drink companies in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.
“We are pleased to have so far helped over 100 food and drink SMEs in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire – whether it’s been through our own project team of scientists, or by accessing academic knowledge, the University’s facilities or by linking businesses to students within student projects. We also link to other economic development initiatives in the area,” said Richard Worrall, project head, Food Innovation Centre.
“The firms have ranged from small start-ups to well-established medium-sized businesses.”
Experts will be sharing the latest updates on some of the key challenges facing the food and drink sector at a one-day workshop at the Food Innovation Centre, at the University of Nottingham’s Sutton Bonington campus tomorrow (Tuesday November 28) from 9am-5pm .
Focusing on small and medium-sized food and drink manufacturers, the event will turn the spotlight on food waste utilization, plant and insect-based alternative proteins, and food allergy/intolerances – all of which are major topics currently in the sector.
“These are huge topics, but important to us all. The Food Innovation Centre has brought together a range of experts to talk about these key global subjects, making them relevant to SMEs and with additional input through case studies from SME businesses themselves,” added Worrall.
“The workshop will share the latest knowledge and information for those working in food and drink manufacturing – hopefully inspiring them to boost efficiencies, reduce waste, develop new products and improve their competitive performance.”
The Food Innovation Centre is a three-year project funded by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
To reserve a place on the workshop email Linda Molyneux on firstname.lastname@example.org.