Winner Eurobuns - Skinny
Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Eurobuns produces frozen American fast-food breads, part-baked French breads and scones and doughnuts for foodservice and retail clients across the UK. The bakery has seven high-tech lines and employs more than 400 staff.
Its Americana Skinny Baked Donuts are described as having a light, fluffy texture and a generous jam filling, but have less than 5% fat and fewer than 150 calories per serving. They were launched, says Eurobuns operations and technical director Graham Wright, to meet the consumer need for healthier products and were described by the judges as "an innovative product".
The donuts are distributed through 10 major frozen food retailers and are supplied in a display box - the judges noted that this packaging gave the product excellent shelf presence.
Finalist Memory Lane Cakes
- Tesco Chocolate Cake
Memory Lane provides around 170 premium own-label cakes to the multiples. Up to 1,200 employees, many of whom are highly skilled, work in the five bakeries.
The company worked closely with Tesco to develop its three-tier Finest Christmas Chocolate Sensation Cake, filled and covered with chocolate buttercream and hand-decorated with Belgian chocolate. It is, says Memory Lane innovations director Kevin Binns, the first plant-scale product to use chocolate plastique, which requires skills usually found only in specialist bakeries and patisseries.
"The plastique is normally hand-rolled," says Binns, "and we had to modify an existing sugarpaste sheeting machine to do this. Product development took about eight months - but we solved the final problems in the last four weeks! I think this shows we made the impossible possible."
Finalist Hovis (Premier
Foods) - Seed Sensations
Part of the £2.25 billion Premier Foods group, Hovis has a reputation for innovation, says product development manager Graham Duckworth.
The 800g Seed Sensations loaf was developed as a response to research, which showed consumers were looking for more variety in the growing seeded sector. The loaf is enrobed in pumpkin and sunflower seeds and is described as a light-eating product with a big flavour.
"It’s the tastiest loaf on the market," says Duckworth. "The seeds are pre-toasted to order, to give depth to the flavour - the first time this has been done for a plant loaf."
He adds that the loaf has demanded new systems to accommodate the extra cleaning required, as well as improved quality controls across the board - from tasting to pack design.