Bicester-based bakery ingredients manufacturer British Bakels has won the Innovation Award at the Oxfordshire Business Awards (OXBA). The award recognises the company’s journey in adopting and implementing Near Infared (NIR) inline process control technology at their manufacturing site to ensure they deliver the best possible products to customers in UK supermarkets, industrial bakeries and wholesale and craft abkeries.
British Bakels first installed Near Infrared (NIR) Spectroscopy equipment in 2012 in their Bicester quality control lab, using NIR light to monitor raw material and finished product quality and specification conformance.
The company has since gone on to use the technology to monitor these factors inline in their ‘dry’ (powder) plant. The Oxfordshire Business Innovation Award honours this journey and the latest stage, British Bakels’ use of NIR spectroscopy during ‘wet’ production to track what is happening to their ingredients while they are being made.
“We are delighted to win the Innovation Award at this year’s Oxfordshire Business Awards. The award recognises not only our most recent implementation of NIR inline process technology in wet manufacturing, but also the journey we have been on to get here,” commented Michael Schofield, Marketing Manager of British Bakels. “Near Infrared Spectroscopy is crucial in guaranteeing the quality of our products such as our caramels and paste concentrates, during production, as it enables us to stop heating and start the cooling process.
“Adopting this technology, which isn’t widely used elsewhere in the food industry, in our ‘wet’ plant helps us not only to ensure our product quality by reducing substandard and waste products but also increases our process and staff efficiency, optimises our manufacturing capacity, and minimises unnecessary use of energy. Everyone wins – us, our customers, and the planet.”
The company presented the NIR within wet manufacturing and their previous work to OXBA judges in March 2023. Since then, British Bakels has confirmed its plans to roll out the technology to its sister companies around the world.
“Our knowledge and implementation experience is now being transferred around the world including in Bakels Australia, which is great recognition for all the hard work over the years. For the team here in Bicester, the additional accolade of winning the Innovation category in the Oxfordshire Business Awards is the icing on the cake,” added Schofield.
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