Bakery supplier Lantmännen Unibake is to invest £4.4m in its Milton Keynes factory following growth in the burger market.

The first stage of improvements comes with a £1.1m investment in the company’s bun line, which produces its Americana brand and own-label fast food breads. All products in the Americana brand, which was revamped last year, are supplied frozen and pre-sliced.

“This investment is a key part of our ongoing growth plans and reflects the growth in the burger market. Not only is the UK burger market currently worth £3.3bn, but its popularity continues to grow, with growth in 2017 up by 3%,” said Tim Robinson, MD at Lantmännen Unibake UK.

“To meet this demand and ensure our customers are able to continue serving their customers on-trend, gourmet and quality classic buns, we are investing in our production capabilities – with this upgraded line being the first step of many.”

Changes to the line include a state-of-the-art automated packaging system and quality vision system. The new equipment is already up and running in the factory and Lantmännen said it had boosted capacity by approximately 10%.

“Operationally, this investment allows us to simultaneously increase our capacity and optimise our product quality for our customers, who will shortly be seeing the benefits,” added Richard Stowey, Lantmännen operations director, who was recently appointed to the role.

In March, the supplier revealed consumers were willing to pay more for a burger if it comes in a gourmet bun as part of a study with burger review blogger Burger Lad.