Mistley: Malt firm EDME hopes to bag new markets with smoked flour

PRODUCTION: The bagging area at Edme

PRODUCTION: The bagging area at Edme - Credit: Archant

A focus on research has helped an Essex-based malted ingredients firm to develop new products, including oak-smoked flour, for food makers in the course of this year.

EDME Food Ingredients, based at Mistley, near Manningtree, has invested in its research arm with the appointment of Bob Craddock as innovations manager in February.

He joined another recent appointment, Russell Wheeler, the firm’s technical sales manager.

The move has enabled the firm to develop a range of new products for the changing food market, including Easigrain, a soft wholegrain for use in bakery recipes, a range of smoked flours and some gluten-free liquid and dry malt products for the growing gluten-free market.

The innovations were well-received when the firm attended Food Ingredients (Fi) Europe 2013, which was held in Frankfurt last month, and the Essex-based firms is working on further innovations for 2014.

Mr Wheeler said products such as the smoked flour had proved a big hit at the event, which showcases some of the latest developments in the food industry.

“We have got customers who have shown a lot of interest,” he said.

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The company has developed oak, apple and cedar smoked flour, which can be used in very small amounts to augment the flavours of baked products, he explained.

“They get a lovely, smokey aroma and flavour and they can use a very, very small amount of our flour - typically 1%,” he said.

The attraction for food makers is that it means “cleaner” labelling as it does not have to be declared as a flavouring, and there are a number of potential uses for it, including to enhance sandwich combinations.

It also opens up possibiities for artisan bread ranges, especially combined with flakes which are already part of the firm’s range.

EDME, which makes bread mixes, has also developed a soft eating wholegrain which remains whole when cooked with other ingredients.

“If we don’t do this we are staying stagnant really,” said Mr Wheeler. “The bakery industry is declining by 3% a year. People are changing their eating products from normal sliced breads.”

Sales director James Smith said the show had given the team a boost.

“It’s an exciting time for all of us here at EDME at the moment,” he said. “Fi Europe is always an enjoyable and worthwhile trip for us to make, and this year was no exception.

“We saw a very positive reaction to the new products we trialled at the show, which gives us the confidence to now move forward and prepare to bring these products to the market.”

The firm has also launched a new website as part of its sales drive.

More than 1,300 food industry exhibitors packed three halls for three days of networking opportunities at Fi Europe and Ni (Natural Ingredients) 2013, which took place in Messe, Frankfurt, from November 19 to 21.

Visitors enjoyed seminar sessions, self-guided discovery tours and conferences, and were kept up to date with what was happening throughout the show and on social media via Fi TV.

Based in the village of Mistley on the Essex-Suffolk border, EDME has been supplying bakery ingredients for more than 100 years. It employs more than 70 local people and purchases £3million of raw produce from local farmers each year.