The Bread Roll Company has launched its first new product after winning £20,000 of Home Grown Cereals Authority Enterprise (HGCA) funding last year.

The grant is helping fund a £52,000 project to develop a new range of speciality ‘healthy” breads. The St Albans-based independent craft baker is set to increase grain usage by 1,000 tonnes over the next two years as it develops these breads, including ciabatta, panini and focaccia. They will include ingredients such as linseed, oats and rye, and will be low in salt and fat and lower GI (Glycaemic Index).

Managing director Stephen Ville, who picked up his HGCA trophy this month, said the company has already launched a multigrain roll, flagged as low GI, with a major multiple.

It is now targeting its contract catering, supermarket and sandwich chain customers with further innovations, he told British Baker.

“We decided to create this totally new range to keep up with market trends,” said Mr Ville. “The healthy bread market is estimated at £119 million in the UK. We are seeing rising demand from customers for lower-salt products and low GI. GI is a move away from Atkins. It’s about eating carbohydrates, but the right sort of carbohydrates, which is good for bakers and cereal growers.”

The Bread Roll Company employs 130 staff and bakes over a million products each week for the foodservice and retail sectors. It also offers bakery goods to customers from Bristol to Brighton, from a network of seven depots.

Organised twice a year, the HGCA Awards offer support towards developing food and industrial products that create innovative uses for grain. Julian Gibbons, chairman of HGCA’s market development committee said: “This initiative by The Bread Roll Company will help to create a whole new category in the market place, which is good for the industry as a whole as well as UK growers.”

Each year’s HGCA Awards are launched in April and September.