Project Hexagon is a Welsh Government funded collaborative project which aims to support the Welsh bakery sector to introduce innovative raw materials into their products to make them healthier. This is in response to directives such as the Welsh Government’s Well-being for Future Generations Act and Food and Drink Action Plan.
The bakery sector is Wales’ second largest sub sector within Welsh food & drink manufacturing by employment, with approximately 180 businesses in operation with a value of £283m to the Welsh economy. However, SMEs in the sector struggle to develop innovative new products due to a lack of resources and expertise in working with cutting edge raw materials.
Project Hexagon brings together a consortium of private sector bakery companies to work alongside new product development experts at ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre and global ingredients experts Univar.
Welsh Government has supported Project Hexagon throughout the programme with regular networking events for participants featuring a diverse range of speakers who inspire innovation and offer advice.
Following discussions between the bakery partners, Univar & ZERO2FIVE, each company developed a specific product development brief:
- La Crème Patisserie wanted to develop a vegan setting agent solution for use in their range of cheesecakes, mousses and panna cottas as their current product is very soft set.
- The Bake Shed wanted to develop a solution to make their gluten free luxury caramel shortbread less crumbly.
ZERO2FIVE carried out a number of successful trials for each company using ingredient solutions from Univar:
- La Crème Patisserie – Two innovative plant based stabilisers and thickening agents were identified as giving the desired product performance when trialled in chilled mousses. The firmness of the set could be adjusted to suit the needs of different dessert types with a clean slice through the product being achievable.
- The Bake Shed - The Bake Shed’s shortbread recipe was successfully reformulated to incorporate a plant based protein concentrate and give the product an improved texture. Whilst the addition of the protein slightly adjusted the product’s flavour profile, the client found it acceptable.
ZERO2FIVE will continue to work with the companies to further develop their new recipes and where appropriate carry out sensory evaluation to find out consumers’ thoughts on the product changes.
Sian Hindle, La Crème Patisserie:
“It’s been fantastic to call on the technical expertise of ZERO2FIVE and work with an ingredient manufacturer who I would never normally have access to. This has allowed me to create innovative products that my customers are increasingly demanding which I hope will result in increased sales and markets.”
Will Rhys-Davies, Owner, The Bake Shed:
“Project Hexagon has given us access to a significantly greater level of expertise than we have in-house. This allowed us to complete the project to a very efficient timescale and to improve the quality of our gluten free shortcake so it aligns with our gluten containing product.”