Délifrance UK has unveiled a new £30m investment to its bakery in London which has already seen the installation of a state-of-the-art stone baked bread line.

The line, which is the first in the UK to incorporate robotic scarification, will enable Délifrance to produce large scale ranges of rustic bread utilising the latest technology in dough lamination, weight regulation and control systems, the company said.

It has been used for some projects over the past 12 months but has only been brought fully online in recent months. Additional investment in the Southall bakery has also seen the development of a new “innovation and development” bakery area for future NPD and training, alongside modernised staff changing areas and canteen.

Ian Dobbie, Délifrance UK’s managing director, said: “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 instore bakery bread market is worth £612m as consumer tastes become more complex with shoppers looking for speciality, premium breads. 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.”

The stone baked bread line features an Italian Serpentino stone, which offers a better heat transfer than traditional stone to guarantee an authentic, stone bake finish. The new line also adds the capability to produce large volumes of multiple products on one line, such as added value breads incorporating cheese, fruit, vegetables, herbs or seeds.