Ingredients supplier Cereform has launched a new partnership for the Irish market with Unifood, part of the IAWS group. The new arrangement gives Unifood the right to develop sales of the full range of Cereform products throughout the Irish Republic.

As a major ingredients supplier to Ireland’s bakery trade, Unifood specialises in flours and mixes, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, margarines and oils, as well as tinned fruits, milk and baking powders. It now supplies 180 bakeries nationwide and plans to expand this number.

The partnership will handle all of Cereform’s new business as well as much of its existing business in the market, but excludes its direct plant bakery business.

For Cereform, the partnership provides penetration into the Irish bakery trade through an established source, while for Unifood, it enhances the firm’s claim to be a one-stop supplier to the Irish trade. The new partnership is targeting the entire bakery trade, including small, medium and large bakeries as well as hot bread shops.

baking trends

At a presentation in Dublin last month to announce the partnership, Cereform also outlined current trends in baking technology. Richard Restaway, general sales manager of Cereform UK and Ireland, Steve Godfrey, field technical manager, and Marion Bauer, marketing manager, said that modern baking trends were being driven by consumers’ demands for the best-quality products at the lowest prices. Perceived health issues are a huge part of innovation, with clean label increasingly important to consumers.

Matthew Green, Cereform’s research and development (R&D) manager, explained how Cereform is optimising the enzymic replacement of emulsifiers, with natural oxidants (dried acerola) replacing ascorbic acid. He added that the drive for cleaner labels is affecting confectionery products, too, with greater demand for products made from store cupboard ingredients, such as bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar.

He also said that, with more demand for high-fibre breads, fibres are now being produced from bamboo as well as wheat. "An important element is developing white breads that have the fibre content of wholemeal," he said.

Green also outlined current R&D projects at Cereform. One is the development of egg replacement products, not just for dried egg in mixes and concentrates but also liquid egg, while another is the development of new cake improvers, based on new enzyme technology. The third aspect of current research is the development of next-generation aqueous dough conditioners.

Damien McDonald, Cereform’s business controller in Ireland, added that the two key areas for the firm’s bakery customers in Ireland, arising from the new partnership with Unifood, will be Cereform’s bespoke solutions for customers and its innovative R&D approach.

Gavin King, ingredients mana-ger, Unifood, said he expected the most take-up in Ireland from this new partnership with Cereform, to be lower-fat scones, muffins and cake mixes. "Irish consumers are particularly interested in low fat, low salt and non-hydrogenated fats," he said, adding that the developments flowing from Cereform will help the current trend in the Irish trade towards more in-store craft bakeries in supermarkets.

Damien McDonald added that many supermarkets are pushing for cleaner labels, while one of the growing product areas is seeded lines. "In the Irish market, taste is everything and now that consumers are much better off, they are more willing to spend on good-quality bakery products," he concluded. n