Gluten-free bread brand Genius is making inroads into the food-to-go market and will be the carrier for Starbucks’ tuna mayonnaise sandwich from mid-February.

The loaf, manufactured by United Central Bakeries (UCB), was the brainchild of chef Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne, who created a recipe that her gluten- and dairy-intolerant children could and would eat.

UCB commercial director Paddy Cronin told British Baker that the firm had been in talks with the coffee chain for a while. "They were really keen and saw an opportunity as well. We thought they would just launch a gluten-free sandwich alongside the rest of their range, but what they’re actually doing is changing the bread, so if you buy a tuna mayo sandwich in Starbucks, it will be made with Genius bread."

UCB is keen to increase the distribution of the loaf, which launched in Sainsbury’s earlier this month. It is in talks with a number of foodservice companies and will launch the gluten-free loaf through foodervice wholesaler Brakes next month.

UCB has also invested £2m in a new production line for the loaf, which was commissioned in early January, due to the need to increase capacity to meet demand. There is also a plan for the roll-out of further products under the Genius brand, which include rolls to be launched in early February and a 400g sliced variant, which has just been launched.

l See British Baker in February for a feature-length report on BIA-winning Genius bread.