Some of the gluten free cakes Bells of Lazonby will produce
Family firm Bells of Lazonby is set to make “exceedingly good cakes” for one of the UK’s most famous food brands.
The bakery company has signed an order with Mr Kipling to produce a range of gluten-free cakes, in a deal expected to be worth in excess of £1 million a year.
This will see the Cumbrian company bake miniature cherry Bakewells as well as a range of loaf cakes, which will come in three flavours, apple crumble, lemon and ginger and cherry bakewell.
These cakes – which will be sold under the Mr Kipling brand, owned by Hertforshire-based conglomerate Premier Foods – will be sold nationally in branches of Tesco.
This deal comes as Bells of Lazonby enters its 15th year of producing gluten- and wheat-free products in its specialist bakery, which opened in 2002 and was the first of its kind in the UK.
Managing director Michael Bell said: “We are absolutely delighted to be part of this venture and feel honoured that Mr Kipling has chosen our bakery, in the heart of Cumbria, to launch their free-from range.
“This will help to put Cumbria on the map as being open for business and recognised as a hub for innovation, providing a fantastic opportunity for more jobs to be created in the local area.”
As a result of this project the firm has made “significant” investment in new machinery and it has plans to extend its gluten-free bakery even further.
The ‘free from’ food market – which includes products made without gluten, wheat and dairy – is one of the fastest-growing parts of the food industry.
By 2020 it is forecast to be worth £673m a year.
About a quarter of families in the UK have one member with a food allergy and a growing number of people are switching to such products for health reasons.
Management training schemes are being implemented across departments at Bells as the firm’s business expands.
Bells celebrated its 70th anniversary last year. The company employs about 250 people at its bakeries in Lazonby and has annual sales of £18m. It also supplies cakes to Costa Coffee.
Jo Agnew, brand director at Premier Foods, said: “The ‘free-from’ market shows no sign of slowing down and this is being driven not only by the five per cent of UK adults who have a sensitivity to gluten, but also those who are cutting down as part of a lifestyle choice.
“The new range takes Mr Kipling into the ‘free-from’ aisle for the first time and we look forward to seeing the response from shoppers, following demand for a solution from a highly recognisable, well-loved and trusted UK brand.”