Everfresh Natural Foods has expanded its portfolio with a range of sprouted grain loaves and cakes after taking delivery of new equipment from supplier Holmach.

The new products include a banana & walnut cake, a date & orange cake and vegan chocolate cake, as well as wheat-free loaves, all of which are free from dairy, sugar and preservatives, said Gloucestershire-based Everfresh.

With the support of sponsorship from Innovate, Holmach was tasked with improving the food safety and quality of the sprouted grain products, using more efficient processes.

Holmach believed the latest steam/air technology from Lagarde Autoclaves would fit the bill, resulting in a safe, ambient product that offered an extended shelf-life while retaining flavour and moisture, without spoilage. Following a successful trial at Lagarde’s head office in Montelimar, France, Everfresh purchased a four-basket, 1,400m static retort to integrate within their production line.

The companies also explored new ways of packaging the baked goods to further reduce the processing time, while not detracting from the product’s appearance and ease of distribution.

Tom Russell, managing director of Everfresh Natural Foods, said he was thrilled with the Lagarde retort, describing it as the “Rolls Royce of autoclaves”.

“The process has been greatly simplified thanks to the Samantha PC-controlled Recipe Management System. Holmach provided training and support and continues to provide thermal processing expertise,” he added.

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