British Bakels, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of ingredients to the bakery market, has invested £1.5m into a new production line specially designed to produce a range of new caramels for the global market. The line consists of a pair of pressure/vacuum cookers and associated raw material supply, packing and cleaning equipment.
The investment comes as the UK caramel ingredients market, one of the largest in Europe, is forecast to grow by 7% by 2021. However, demand for product with consistent texture and colour and application versatility is expected to grow in all markets presenting Bakels with the opportunity to use its global reach to grow in this important sector.
The company, who already produce Millionaires Caramel and Banoffee toffee for industrial, ISB and craft sectors, will be equipped to produce a range of caramel toppings and fillings to suit different applications, such as RTU caramel sauces and bakeable caramel solutions. A palm free version, a choice increasingly made by consumers, is also available. The range would be suitable for the on-the-go market, with a low water activity caramel for long shelf life products such as “bite size” confectionery and snack bars.
The new range of products will be branded as “true caramel” reflecting the fact that they are produced by a traditional high temperature boiling, or caramelisation, process using traditional ingredients.
Bakels has developed a Neutral Caramel Base for the range, inspired by the concept and success of Multimix Cake Base, a single ingredient which can used to produce a multitude of different finished products. Neutral Caramel Base is an uncoloured, neutral flavoured, product with the texture of a traditional caramel to which flavours, colours and inclusions can be added. The neutral base creates opportunities for products such as pistachio flavoured caramel icing used in macarons, a sweet treat popular in many of London’s high end patisseries, or a chocolate caramel, simply by mixing with 50% melted chocolate for an indulgent and chewy chocolate caramel fudge.
Whilst the new line presents significant opportunity within the caramel market the cooking vessels will also produce some of Bakels’ long established and successful products, adding significant capacity. The line will not only provide consistent products due to enhanced process control it will open the door for opportunities for products requiring very high temperature processing, such as caramelised syrups.
Bakels also believes the investment lead to increased exports to its sister companies and distributors globally. Explains British Bakels Managing Director Paul Morrow, who is also a member of the Bakels Group Management Board: “We operate across all five continents, and with the global caramel ingredients market forecast to be worth £2.1 billion by 2021, we made this investment to to create a state of the art caramel production facility to serve the Bakels Group and its customers worldwide.” exist.”
“We have the philosophy to “go where the growth is” and the investment illustrates this. Caramel has risen in popularity amongst consumers in recent years and today it is one of the most important products produced by British Bakels. Forecast to continue growing we believe we now have the production capability, backed by a strong team of food scientists and applications specialists, to compete with the very best.”
The new range will comprise Millionaires Caramel, Millionaires Caramel Palm Free, Salted Caramel, Low aW Caramel, Neutral Caramel Base, Dulce de leche, RTU Caramel Sauce and Bakeable Caramel Filling.
The investment brings spending on the Bicester, Oxfordshire, site to more than £21m since Bakels relocated its business there in the mid-1990s. Today the business employs more than 190 staff.
The investment represents a commitment from the Bakels Group to continued investment in technology and innovation in markets with strong growth.