Sponsored by European Process Plant

Winner: M&S Ultimate Five Grain Crumpets, Village Bakery

Family business Village Bakery, based in Coedpoeth, Wales, innovates constantly in the traditional and free-from sectors. It supplies major supermarkets, foodservice customers and also exports overseas. One of its major customers is Marks & Spencer (M&S), for whom innovation is always a key criterion.

For EPP’s Innovation Award, the firm entered its sourdough crumpet recipe, made using five grains – rye, spelt, linseed, sunflower and wheat – and soaked in a rye sourdough to give a depth of flavour and a soft bite to the palate.

The crumpets are also a source of vitamin D, naturally produced by the yeast used, and are high in fibre, boosted by the use of chicory root, a natural prebiotic.

“Who doesn’t love a crumpet?” says Village Bakery MD Robin Jones (pictured). “Consumers want to make healthier choices without compromising on taste or texture; we believe this product delivers on both counts and tastes really good.”

The crumpets, launched exclusively through M&S, have grown organically through repeat sales in its national stores and Simply Food outlets, via ambient distribution. They are also exported globally to an international network, via frozen distribution.

Finalist: Naansters, Food Attraction

Filled breads from Food Attraction can be microwaved in 90 seconds without the need for extra packaging technology.

Sold under the brand name Jake & Nayns’, they come in two varieties: filled naans called Naansters and filled pizza bread called Calzones.

“There’s nothing else like this on the market,” says MD Jake Karia (pictured left). “We believe the products are healthier than the competition, with no red traffic lights. They are completely different, in a category that is currently dominated by pasties, sausage rolls and burgers.

He adds that the products can be eaten hot or cold and that, when microwaved, the breads remain soft with no hard or chewy edges. The Naansters Beef Madras is described as a light, fluffy naan bread filled with beef in Madras sauce, pilau rice and mango chutney.

“Naansters have been entered into this award, but for both products we make our own sauces, and cook our own meat,” adds Karia. “The chicken and beef are both British. We have an Italian stone-bake oven that gives our breads that special tandoor and Italian stone bake.”

Finalist: Simit roll, Adelie Foods

Hand-twisted simit roll from Adelie Foods has brought fresh innovation to the highly competitive sandwich, panini, ciabatta and bread roll sector.

Based on a traditional Turkish breakfast bread, enjoyed since the early 16th century, each is baked in an individual tray, to achieve a well-textured product that is crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle. It looks slightly like a bagel, is similar in texture to a pretzel, and can be enjoyed hot or cold with a wide range of fillings.

“Each simit is coated in light molasses and dipped in linseed and poppy seeds,” says Kate Welch, senior development manager at Adelie Foods (pictured). “The coating before baking achieves a slight sweetness that lends itself really well to Mediterranean flavours.”

Before its launch, more than 2,000 people were consulted about the strength of the concept, with over 60% agreeing it was innovative and different.

“The simit offers retailers and hospitality operators a hand-crafted product, enabling them to tap into the booming chilled food-to-go market,” adds Welch.