Warburtons to invest in production for possible European push

Warburtons to invest in production for possible European push

Warburtons is weighing up taking its free-from brand Newburn Bakehouse into Europe, the UK baker has told just-food.

Chris Hook, Warburtons' free-from director, said the company could have products ready to launch into other European markets in 12 months.

"I'd like to think by May, June 2016 we'll have a portfolio of products that are fit for purpose for the European market," he said on the sidelines of the Free From Food Expo in Barcelona today (4 June).

Hook said Warburtons is set to invest in production at its dedicated Newburn Bakehouse plant in north-east England in order to increase the shelf life of its products to serve markets outside the UK.

He indicated the company was eyeing Ireland, Italy and Germany and was optimistic about the opportunity to exploit growing demand for more gluten-free products in Europe as the category grows.

"In principle, Ireland is a key market for us going forward but we're also acutely aware that the Italian market is one of the biggest markets and we really want to explore that opportunity. And then the German territory," he said. "I think there's a frustrated demand in Europe. Also I've picked up, not just last year but this year, a frustration from European retailers that they want to embrace this opportunity and provide a range of products."

For more on Warburtons' outlook for the free-from sector in Europe and the latest on its strategy in the UK gluten-free bakery sector, read our extended interview with Hook here.