Knighton innovates key bakery ingredients
Specialist food manufacturing business Knighton Foods works with some of the UK’s biggest food and bakery manufacturing names. Neill Barston speaks to marketing manager David Street and business unit director Paul Cannings on the company’s operations
Q: What do you believe has been the biggest breakthrough in terms of creating ingredients processes targeted at the bakery sector?
A: Paul Cannings - 6 months ago we created a new business unit centred around supplying Ingredients. Our pure chocolate powder and pure fat powders lend themselves naturally to the Bakery Industry. The two biggest breakthroughs have been in-depth analysis from Premier Analytical Services, which has been invaluable in better understanding the science behind our products and also closer contact with our customers regarding the ultimate applications for our ingredients.
Q: Knighton now has two facilities – one in Staffordshire and another in North Yorkshire. How do they each work in relation to your bakery-based operations?
A: Paul Cannings - Both sites supply ingredients. There is processing expertise at both locations. In simple terms, the sites are differentiated by scale. The site in Staffordshire contains large scale continuous processing equipment that cost effectively produces large volumes. The site in North Yorkshire has smaller scale batch processes that are able to offer more flexible solutions for bespoke applications. Having access to both large scale and flexible processing allows us to be both cost effective and assist our customers with genuine innovation.
Q: How proud are you of being part of a business with more than a century of history associated with the Cadbury name?
A: David Street: “The history of the site at Knighton is impressive and without fail I learn something new about the site every day I am here. A history which dates back to 1911 as part of the Cadbury’s family, and a raft of documentation celebrating the history of the site it’s difficult not to be impressed. At the same time, the history of the site beyond the Cadbury’s years is just as impressive you only have to take a short walk around the facilities and you are greeted with some of the world’s most recognised brands and, in my case often brands that I grew up with.
Q: Have you noticed any key trends within the bakery market that have impacted on your approach to how you are devising ingredients solutions?
A: Paul Cannings – One trend we are seeing is the desire to include real chocolate in products. Spray Crystallisation gives Knighton the ability to offer any real chocolate in a powdered form that can assist our customers to add value and deliver innovation.
Q: Providing innovative functional ingredients solutions is at the heart of your operations - what are the key challenges of working on some of the biggest brands within the Premier Foods confectionery and bakery ranges?
A: David Street - Being part of the Premier Foods group enables us to understand just how the ingredients we produce are used in an end application, this is something that often isn’t known by ingredients producers. By having this understanding, utilising the skills and expertise on site we are able to take this knowledge and then understand how it can be applied, was there a production benefit by using our powder?, was there a cost saving?, were there other benefits that could improve the consumer eating experience? These are all things that allow the team at Knighton to grow in their understanding and, in some cases find new innovative ways to improve upon what we are doing.
Q: How significant has the development of your customer innovation centre proved in terms of helping client realise new finished products using your ingredients?
A: David Street: Our Customer Innovation Centre was developed as part of a wider view for the future of Knighton Foods. The ability to take visitors to a quiet part of our site, with a suite of facilities away from the noise of the production lines working away enables us to discuss, learn and understand more from new and existing customers in a fantastic environment. Knighton Foods has historically been part of the industry that has worked away in the background, providing products to customers and its primary focus has been to deliver what the customers wants and needs. Today, with the primary focus still in place, teams at Knighton are constantly looking at what’s happening within the food industry, understanding what’s happening in consumer trends and then utilising all of this information to actively develop new and innovative products, our customer innovation centre is just one part of this process.
Q: Are there regional differences in how you develop your systems for baked goods-based solutions based on the intended market (whether it’s destined for Europe, or elsewhere overseas?
A: David Street: Tastes do vary from country to country and we currently supply customers in both Europe and the UK. Products are typically developed in conjunction with our customers so we ensure they deliver the required solution and flavour profile. Knighton Foods have the ability to convert literally any chocolate in to a powdered format so products can be tailored for specific markets.
Q: The company’s NovaFlo system has been developed to deliver pure fats created using a cryogenic spray process - can you explain how this works for application areas such as an improver for bread, cakes and baked goods? How has this been receive by industry?
A: Paul Cannings: “The process produces an ambient stable free flowing powder that converts the crystalline structure of the fat into the preferred Beta Prime form. As such, this produces a highly functional ingredient, that is not only easy to handle but its also possible to use less to achieve the same or even improved end results. We are hoping to grow the industries awareness of our capabilities and the potential benefits that our fat powders can offer.
Q: Another of your product ranges, the Novacote, delivers pure chocolates as stable powders that are used for bakery mixes, cakes and the patisserie industry. Has this been a growing area of the business, and have you noted any trends in this segment of the market?
A: Paul Cannings – This is a growing area and one of the USPs of our business. Stable Couverture chocolate powders that dry mix easily, allowing an improved marketing claim and avoiding investment required to handle liquid chocolate not to mention reduced losses in production.
Q: How successful do you believe the spray crystallisation systems have been for the bakery sector in terms of developing a range of products, and are there areas that this can be improved even further?
A: Paul Cannings – Knighton Foods currently offer milk, dark and white chocolate but the process can literally convert any chocolate in to a powder so the opportunities are endless. We have an off the shelf range, which makes MOQs of 25kg achievable. We are also currently working on reduced sugar products and a sugar free product.
Q: What other areas of the market do you believe Knighton will focus on in the near future?
A: Paul Cannnings – Spray crystallised fats focussed toward bread and baked goods are applications that we hope to explore in greater detail. Equally there is much still to explore in the bakery and patisserie applications and we welcome all enquiries.
10 Things you may not know that Knighton Foods can offer:
Spray Crystallised Pure Chocolate Powder
Spray Crystallised Pure Fat Powder
RSPO Segregated / Mass Balance sustainable sourcing
Encapsulated Baking Ingredients
Toppings & Inclusions
PreBlends and Packing to specific Weights
Spray Dried Creamers and Whipping Bases
Co-Spray Dried Whiteners with Chocolate
Instantised Dairy Powders
Stabilisers and Emulsifiers systems
Sugar Reduction Support
Spray Crystallised Chocolate Powder
Spray Crystallised Cocoa Butter Powder
Crystalline Powders to seed chocolate to minimise tempering process
Spray Crystallised Cocoa Mass
Agglomerated Chocolate Beverages with real chocolate inclusion
Cryogenically Milled Chocolate
Fairtrade/UTZ Certification re sustainable sourcing
Reduced Sugar Chocolate
Ability to Convert any chocolate into a powder (Milk, Dark, White)
Directly Compressible excipients