Prewett’s brand owner Northumbrian Fine Foods has increased its baked output by almost a third following a £1.2m investment.

Earlier this year, the business – which says its Gateshead site produces about 70% of the UK’s gluten-free sweet biscuits – announced it would be expanding its capacity with a new bake oven and production line.

These are now fully operational, said the business, and have increased baked production output by around 30% and created 40 new jobs.

“The new bake line will enable us to further develop our range of ‘free-from’ biscuits and cookies to meet strong customer demand,” said Northumbrian Fine Foods managing director Stewart McLelland.

“This investment will reinforce our position in the gluten-free sector and enable us to develop new markets, including export.”

The new line will produce a range of different biscuits, including ‘indulgent’ cookies, rotary moulded biscuits and bake bars.

As well as gluten-free biscuits under the Prewett’s brand, the business also produces supermarket own-label products.

In October, Prewett’s won both winner and highly commended gongs in The Grocer New Product Award 2016.

Prewett’s Gorgeously Gluten Free Spicy Dark Chocolate & Ginger Cookies was announced winning product in the Free From Biscuits category at the event, held at the Marriott Grosvenor Square, London.

The awards panel of expert judges described the Prewett’s cookie as “scrummy” with a “strong slap of chocolate”.

Prewett’s Chocoful biscuit secured the judges’ highly commended award in the same category.