Bradford-based Harden Fine Foods, which supplies mini-bite flapjacks, brownies and cakes to in-store bakeries in supermarkets as well as restaurants and coffee shops, has been bought by CSM for £6.4 million. The Netherlands firm already owns BakeMark UK and Kate’s Cakes.

Welcoming the latest acquisition, Marco Bertacca, CSM European vice-president for frozen and bakery foods, said: "We firmly believe that the market for premium convenience products is here to stay.

"Harden has been at the forefront of this trend through the development of its market-leading range of mini-bites.

"We believe Harden complements our existing UK operations, and will consolidate and drive our strategic position as the number one partner of choice for sweet bakery products in the in-store, artisan and out-of-home markets."

Harden Fine Foods managing director Andrew Higgins told British Baker that while the company had grown strongly "from nothing in the last 10 years or so, to sales of £11m", CSM’s level of investment and expertise would be vital in further growing the firm.

He said: "I believe the business needs to be taken to the next level. CSM came along at the right time."

Harden will continue to operate as a standalone manufac- turing operation and will not be integrated into either BakeMark or Kate’s Cakes.