Bakery firm Délifrance UK this week unveiled the culmination of a £30m investment programme boosting its capacity for supplying quality, rustic breads to foodservice and retail.
The programme sees the conclusion of a three-year plan to specify, design and install a state of the art stone baked bread line, believed to be the largest and most technologically advanced in the UK.
The line, which is the first to incorporate “robotic scarification” in the UK, will facilitate large scale production of multiple varieties of rustic bread utilising the latest technology in dough lamination, weight regulation and control systems.
Additional investment in the Southall, West London, bakery brings a new “innovation and development” bakery area for future NPD and training alongside modernised staff changing areas and canteen.
Délifrance UK MD Ian Dobbie said: “Délifrance has been developing bakery solutions for food service providers, retailers and bakers for 30 years and here in the UK, we have been planning a major expansion and development of our Southall site since our acquisition of Le Pain Croustillant in 2009, which gave Délifrance the opportunity to concentrate on supplying larger volumes of premium, added value breads. Our long-term strategy involved investing heavily in our manufacturing processes to achieve this and we are delighted to unveil the results today.”
The stone baked bread line features an Italian Serpentino stone which offers “a better heat transfer than traditional stone guaranteeing an authentic, stone bake finish with a crisp, rustic crust and an open texture”. With the capability to produce large volumes of multiple products on one line, added value breads incorporating cheese, fruit, vegetables, herbs or seeds were now part of the extended Délifrance rustic portfolio, said Dobbie.
“The in-store bakery bread market is worth £612m [IRI August 2015] as consumer tastes become more complex with shoppers looking for speciality, premium breads,” he continued. “With the surge in interest in baking and customers being as discerning over their sandwich carrier as their sandwich filling, we are experiencing an unprecedented demand for affordable, rustic breads. Our new line and modernised bakery will satisfy this demand by supplying both retail and foodservice customers with ranges which replicate the key characteristics of artisanal breads, but in large volumes.”
Showcasing the capabilities of the new line is a new range of Délifrance rustic breads made from a blend of French wheat and light rye flour mixed with a matured and cultivated levain starter to give a distinctive flavour with a hint of sour. The range includes four different rolls – white, sesame seed topped, poppy seed topped, a malted wheat and a ciabatta roll as well as a Parisien, a baguette and a half baguette.
Other site improvements include a new innovation and development bakery area, a 500-pallet dry goods warehouse with automated management system, investment in the three existing bakery lines, modernised changing facilities and an expanded, inviting canteen. Staff have also received NVQ-level training on baking knowledge, the science behind baking and an understanding of operational process control.
Watch a short film about the new plant here: