Bells of Lazonby, a Cumbria, UK-based business, has received a £479,968 Grant for Research and Development from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) to research new recipes that will enhance their “Free From” food range.
Established in 1946, Bells of Lazonby is a key player in the region’s food and drink sector, employing 231 people. Since opening a second bakery dedicated to the manufacture of wheat, gluten and dairy free products in 2003, the company has grown significantly, evolving into one of the leading “Free From” suppliers in the UK, manufacturing products which are all gluten, wheat and dairy free.
The research project will focus on developing products that are not only free from gluten, wheat and dairy, but are also low in salt, fat, processed sugars and have a relatively high fibre content.
Commenting on the award, Mark Hughes, Executive Director of Economic Development at the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) said: “By recognising the importance of the Free From sector, Bells have identified an opportunity, turning it to their business advantage. With this project Bells will be in a strong position to increase their share of a market, which is expected to grow to £326m by 2012.”
Michael Bell, Managing Director of Bells of Lazonby, added: “In recent years the Free From market has developed in breadth and choice, alongside improving quality and standards, however it still lags behind the mainstream food market in many ways. This project will help bridge that gap and bring the same principles of thoughtful nutrition to Free From baked goods”.
The Grant for Research and Development (GRAND), which is part of Solutions for Business, the Government’s package of publicly funded business support designed to help companies start and grow, helps entrepreneurs introduce innovative products and processes, including research trials and product testing.
GRAND is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) with £1.1m, together with £1.2m from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA).