British Bakels group process control engineer Mohamed Mohamed (centre) holds the 2023 OXBA Innovation Award 2100x1400

Source: British Bakels

British Bakels group process control engineer Mohammed Mohammed (centre) collected the 2023 OXBA Innovation Award

Bakery ingredients supplier British Bakels has been recognised for its use of technology to monitor material and product quality.

The Bicester-based bakery ingredients manufacturer won the innovation category at the Oxfordshire Business Awards in recognition of its adoption and implementation of near infrared (NIR) inline process control technology.

Bakels first installed NIR Spectroscopy equipment in 2012 in its quality control lab. The company originally used NIR light to monitor raw material and finished product quality and specification conformance, then went on to use it to monitor these factors inline in its powder plant.

Bakels won the innovation award after further implementation of the technology, with the business now also using NIR spectroscopy during ‘wet’ production to track what’s happening to its ingredients while they are being produced.

“The award recognises not only our most recent implementation of NIR inline process technology in wet manufacturing, but also the journey we have been on to get here,” said Bakels marketing manager Michael Schofield.

He explained that NIR spectroscopy is crucial in guaranteeing the quality of its products such as caramels and paste concentrates during production, as it enables the business to stop heating and start the cooling process.

“Adopting this technology, which isn’t widely used elsewhere in the food industry, in our ‘wet’ plant helps us not only to ensure our product quality by reducing substandard and waste products but also increases our process and staff efficiency, optimises our manufacturing capacity, and minimises unnecessary use of energy.”

The wider Bakels group is now planning to transfer the knowledge and implementation experience gained in Bicester to its sister companies around the world.

“This is great recognition for all the hard work over the years,” said Schofield. “For the team here in Bicester, the additional accolade of winning the innovation category in the Oxfordshire Business Awards is the icing on the cake.”

Bakels last month extended its Ta-Da consumer product range with four new fruit fillings.