A cutting edge project, being run as a collaboration between Everfresh Natural Foods, Campden BRI and Holmach Ltd, has been awarded a £650k grant by Innovate UK.

A non-departmental public body, funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government, Innovate UK aims to ‘drive productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas, including those from the UK’s world-class research base.’

The project ultimately hopes to identify new ways of improving both the nutritional qualities and shelf life of baked goods, through the use of sprouted grains and pasteurisation, without detrimentally affecting the taste and texture of products.

The new initiative comes off the back of encouraging initial research in the area, as Tom Russell, managing director at Everfresh explained: “Research into the benefits of sprouting grains has been promising, but we hope this grant will enable us to expand on early findings and discover just how beneficial the process is to the nutritional qualities of the end baked products. We’re also excited to be working with Holmach on a unique pasteurisation method, which means we could dramatically extend the shelf life of breads and cakes without having to add unnecessary additives.

“Both sides of the project look likely to result in an outcome where we’re able to produce baked goods which involve much less processing, preservatives and additives, but produce highly nutritional end products that do not sacrifice on taste or texture.”

The project will initially focus on Campden and Everfresh working together to identify which sprouted grains produce an optimal product, in terms of taste and texture and nutritional properties, with candidates including oats, wheat, rye, spelt, and barley. The addition of pulses will also be explored, to see whether they are a viable option for increasing protein levels in products.

Independent consumer group testing will be used to determine whether the products will be readily accepted by today’s shopper.