Edme, the bakery ingredients supplier and manufacturer, has opened a new gluten-free mill.

The £600,000 facility was officially opened at Edme’s Mistley headquarters last week by local MP Bernard Jenkin and Colchester Coeliac UK representative Beryl Whittingham.

The company hopes the new mill will allow it to supply into the growing gluten-free market, which saw sales increase by 15% last year.

The mill will be able to produce gluten-free flour from cereals such as rice, sorghum and buckwheat – and pulses such as dried peas and chickpeas.

The natural food ingredient producer spent six months converting a redundant, run-down building to create and commission the plant, which is sealed off from other operations on-site.

Peter Tichbon, Edme’s managing director, said: “This has been a really exciting project to get off the ground. It’s an example of investment in Britain’s thriving food and drink manufacturing sector; and it’s responding to a market that’s actually growing. The new facility will support bakers, chefs and food manufacturers who are becoming more adventurous with ingredients – and who care about quality. Our purpose-built milling plant is specifically designed to produce a consistently fine particle size.”

He added: “We had to ensure we could operate efficiently and effectively while avoiding risks of cross-contamination. We’ve gutted and refurbished an old building and silos and brought in brand new milling equipment. There have been quite a few challenges along the way, but we now have a top-notch facility. It will produce flour for food companies that cater for those with coeliac disease, those with gluten allergies, and those with a preference for gluten-free.