Essex ingredients firm EDME’s new gluten-free flour mill at Mistley, near Manningtree, sees sales soar

A crop of fava broad beans. Picture: FRANCES BRACE

A crop of fava broad beans. Picture: FRANCES BRACE - Credit: Frances Brace

An Essex ingredients firm which launched a gluten-free flour mill three years ago is celebrating soaring sales of the products made there.

Chickpeas and chickpea flour. Picture: FRANCES BRACE

Chickpeas and chickpea flour. Picture: FRANCES BRACE - Credit: Frances Brace

EDME, based at Mistley, near Manningtree, has seen a sixfold increase in demand for its gluten-free flours over the last two years.

The mill is based in what was a disused, run-down building at its site and mills flours from pulses, grains and seeds which are mainly sourced from East Anglian growers.

“The mill is supporting food manufacturers in creating more nutritious, better-tasting products, and helping keep our region in the limelight in food production and innovation,” said director Mike Carr.

The nutritionally-rich flours produced at the company’s Mistley mill include chickpea, broad bean, buckwheat, millet, quinoa and linseed. Each provides distinctive flavours, and can change the texture, as well as the taste of foods, the firm said.

Jill Richardson and Beryl Whittingham from Coeliac UK at EDME's gluten-free flour mill launch three

Jill Richardson and Beryl Whittingham from Coeliac UK at EDME's gluten-free flour mill launch three years ago. Picture: WARREN PAGE - Credit: Warren Page


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Chickpea flour and lentil flours, which are high in protein and in fibre, are used in a range of Indian foods, including papadums. Flaxseed, with its high Omega 3 content can be used as a fat or egg substitute in domestic and industrial baking. Amaranth and quinoa flour, which contain all the essential amino acids, are ideal for boosting the nutritional value of breads, crackers, rice cakes and pastry.

“Many people believe gluten is inherently bad for you,” said Mike. “Of course, that’s true for those with coeliac disease - or who are gluten-intolerant. But the vast majority of the population can safely eat foods with wheat, barley or rye in them – and gain great health benefits from them.

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“That said, many gluten-free ingredients are highly nutritious and provide great health benefits to everyone.”

The firm said most of the raw materials it uses are grown by East Anglian farmers, with a small proportion imported. The region, well-known for the quality of its cereal grains, is now also building a reputation for producing a wide range of gluten-free crops, it said, including yellow and green split peas, chickpeas, fava beans, chia seeds, and quinoa, which are all beginning to be cultivated here.

Maize grits ready for processing into fine flour at EDME's gluten-free flour mill. Picture: WARREN P

Maize grits ready for processing into fine flour at EDME's gluten-free flour mill. Picture: WARREN PAGE - Credit: Warren Page

“We supply some of the biggest players in the food industry who use our flours and seed mixes to add nutritional value to foods, and bring greater choice to consumers,” said Mike.

EDME's gluten-free flour mill. Pictured are Coeliac UK's Beryl Whittingham Harwich with North Essex

EDME's gluten-free flour mill. Pictured are Coeliac UK's Beryl Whittingham Harwich with North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin at its launch three years ago. Picture: WARREN PAGE - Credit: Warren Page

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