Thaxted couple hope their gluten-free bread business Mannavida makes them lots of dough

Davina Steel and Dan Jennings from Mannavida

Davina Steel and Dan Jennings from Mannavida - Credit: Archant

A couple from north Essex are hoping their packaged gluten-free bread mixes and kits make them lots of dough.

The Mannavida range

The Mannavida range - Credit: Archant

Davina Steel and Dan Jennings from Thaxted launched the products for their business Mannavida, which means bread of life, last year after Davina had spent some timing experimenting and perfecting the recipes.

“Mannavida was born out of necessity. My wife was recovering from cancer and the treatment made her allergic to lots of things, as well as gluten intolerant,” explained Dan.

“She started messing around in the kitchen and trying different things to come up with the ideal gluten free bread. We entered the World Bread Awards and won the gluten free category and then secured some investment, which helped kick the business off.”

Mannavida is based on the Hammer Hill Business Park in Thaxted but all production of the mixes is outsourced to a company in Lancashire who have the facilities to produce gluten free products.


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The pair have signed up with a number of distributors who sell into farm shops and delis, and are working hard to get the Mannavida range onto supermarket shelves.

“It’s a hard slog and it will take a while but we have had some good feedback,” continued Dan.

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“We had a fantastic meeting with Marks and Spencer recently who said ours was the best gluten-free bread they have tasted. We are also meeting some representatives from Morrisons soon so we are hopeful.

Dan says that gluten free bread is ideal for the ready mix market because it is quick and easy to make.

“What people don’t understand is that gluten-free bread doesn’t need kneading. The whole process is more like a cake mix and takes around 50 minutes to make from the time you open the box until you are enjoying the bread.”

Dan, who trained to be a pizza chef in Italy, said the company is just about to launch a gluten-free pizza base mix to add to its range.

He added: “A lot of the gluten-free bread mixes on the market contain chemicals and preservatives but ours are clean and have only natural ingredients.”

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