Sponsored by CSM Bakery Solutions

Winner: Campden BRI, Katie-Joy Woods

Bakery technologist at Campden BRI Katie-Joy Woods works with clients on projects such as NPD, research and test baking, with new ingredients, processes and storage.

Campden BRI won this award after working for a customer who hoped to gain funding for a medical study looking into nutritional enrichment of flour and its potential health benefits in baked products.

Three clear goals comprised: creating a product to be consumed every day for 180 days by 140 participants; the product should contain a maximum level of flour and have a mould-free shelf life long enough to complete the trial; and the health benefits related to the flour enrichment should be investigated.

After trials, the product chosen was a water biscuit.

“Through working closely with the customer, a suitable product was developed efficiently,” says Woods. “Following regular contact and effective communication between the customer and myself, I was then trusted to progress into a secondary pilot study through building a good working relationship and constantly striving to improve rapport.”

These pilot studies led to a larger ongoing project and a request from the client for more samples to use in presentations and as trade show exhibits.

Finalist: Bath Cake Company, Celia Adams

Whether discussing a bespoke wedding cake or attending a PME diploma course in cake decorating at its in-house school, Bath Cake Company aims to ensure customers enjoy every moment of their experience.

“Our core values are: passion, community, quality and creativity,” says Celia Adams, who founded the firm seven years ago. “Last year a customer got in touch about attending our PME courses for cake decorating, but lacked confidence. This is a Masters course, so to address the confidence issue we sent her two testimonials and invited her to call in and just get a feel for the place. She decided to book a half-day beginner’s class. Since then she’s gone on to complete her Masters course.”

The school attracts top names as demonstrators, and students from as far afield as Germany, Sri Lanka, Iran and Cyprus.

“We also focus on giving business advice so they can open their own businesses, and enter competitions,” explains Adams.

Students on the courses also have exclusive access to the Sugarcraft Shop decorating supplies store.

Finalist: Bells of Lazonby, Sally Kidd

Major clients expect national accounts manager Sally Kidd and the team at Bells to be proactive in their customer focus.

This can range from hand-stencilled artisan breads for northern retailer Booths to working with sweet treats manufacturer Premier Foods on free-from innovation.

Premier chose Bells for a co-manufacturing agreement because of its insight and technical skills as a pioneer in free-from production.

“Premier wanted to create new free-from products aligned to their core range, while holding on to flavours that are Mr Kipling’s famous heritage, such as Bakewell and apple,” says Kidd. “We worked with Premier over six months, then panel-tested the new products with Coeliac Society members. Often, the partnership required swift turnarounds and lots of samples and technical data. Innovative techniques and ingredients were used to form products with texture, taste and mouthfeel.”

The one-year deal with Premier has now extended to three years and more product innovation is planned.