A newly launched company aims to raise competition levels in the wholesale flour market in the UK after signing an exclusive deal to import flour from Estonia.

Estonia Flour Supply (EFS) has been set up by Rob Mullen, formerly of Rank Hovis and Carr’s, who plans to import around 500-1,000 tonnes of high-quality flour from Tartu Mill in Estonia each week.

The range of flours being imported is comparable in quality to those from wheat grown in Canada and the UK, said Mullen, with protein levels ranging from 11.5 to 14%. Currently white, wholemeal, rye, pastry and pizza flours are available.

"Now British bakers and food manufacturers have the choice to opt for a viable, sustainable, high-quality and competitive alternative to British milled flour," he said. "With far fewer links in the logistics chain from wheat grower to actual British customer, Estonian flour is an extremely attractive alternative to British-milled flour."

EFS, which is based in Northumberland, is in negotiations with several large UK food manufacturers and is seeking to supply the retail market under its own brand The Natural Flour Co. Mullen told BB that he was also keen to supply craft bakery chains.

Tartu Mill already supplies some of the biggest food manufacturers in Germany and has a total milling capacity of 800,000 tonnes of grain a year. EFS would potentially be able to import around 6,000 tonnes a week.