Gloucester bakery boosts product line thanks to investment in innovation


A privately-owned bakery has improved the quality of its sprouted grain products thanks to support from Innovate UK and working with thermal processing technology Holmach of Lincolnshire.

Unlike traditional baked goods, which use dairy, sugar and often preservatives, Everfresh Natural Foods‘ sprouted grains product range will not contain these.  But to achieve this, the privately-owned Gloucester bakery, which has been operating for over 25 years, had to find a different way to preserve their products. With minimal processing at the heart of their company ethos, this provided a challenge which was approached confidently and effectively by the expert team at Holmach Ltd.Holmach machinery

With the support of sponsorship from Innovate UK, the brief from Everfresh was for Holmach Ltd to work with the team to improve food safety and the quality of their sprouted grain products, through the use of more efficient processes.

With more than 40 years’ retorting expertise (heating of low acid foods prone to microbial spoilage in hermetically sealed containers to extend their shelf life), Holmach Ltd was confident that the latest steam/air technology from Lagarde Autoclaves would produce a safe, ambient product.  Featuring an extended shelf-life, whilst retaining flavour and valuable moisture, without spoilage.

Following a successful trial at Lagarde’s head office in Montelimar, France, Everfresh purchased a 4 basket, 1400m static retort to integrate within their production line.

Everfresh also utilised Holmach Ltd’s extensive thermal processing knowledge to explore new ways of packaging the baked goods to further reduce the processing time, whilst not detracting from the product’s appearance and ease of distribution.

The improved performance from the new retorts have resulted in four new lines already being introduced; banana and walnut, date and orange and vegan chocolate cake, along with some wheat-free loaves.

Tom Russell, Managing Director of Everfresh Natural Foods is delighted with the results he has achieved by upgrading his technology: “I am thrilled with the Lagarde retort. It really is the Rolls Royce of autoclaves! The process has been greatly simplified thanks to the superb Samantha PC controlled, Recipe Management System. Holmach provided excellent training and support and continue to provide thermal processing expertise. The telephone support, when needed, has also been excellent. My team picked up the process easily because it is so simple to operate.”

Tom continued, “the temperature probes mean that we are able to significantly refine the process, further improving quality, as well as saving energy, time and production costs.”