A Nottingham bread manufacturer celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2010 has launched a new range of products after receiving support from the Food and Drink iNet.

Butt Foods Ltd received support worth £3,800 from the iNet to develop five flavours in its new Big Softy sub roll range. This also enabled the firm to develop interactive marketing materials to support the sale of the Big Softy sub rolls into the food service, sandwich manufacturer, and retail markets.

The range has been such a success that the firm is poised to launch Big Softy sub rolls in sliced versions at London contemporary food trade exhibition Lunch! 2010 at the end of September.

“The Big Softy sub rolls have been a great success from day one of their launch – our sales have shown 50% quarter on quarter growth,” said Butt Foods sales and marketing director David Williams.

“As bakery innovators, we are always looking to lead the way and be up there with any trend, and there is currently a huge demand from universities, colleges, hospitals, leisure centres, cafés and other similar outlets for sub rolls.

“The Food and Drink iNet support helped us to develop five flavours of the Big Softy and also gave us assistance with interactive marketing, which means we can add downloadable recipes and information to our website that will give our customers ideas about how they can use the sub rolls. The Food and Drink iNet has been a big help to us as we open the latest chapter in the life of Butt Foods, which is this year marking its 20th anniversary.”

Butt Foods, which is based in Nottingham, received £3,800 worth of Innovation, Advice and Guidance support from the iNet. The company matched this support with its own investment.

The iNet helps food and drink firms engage expertise from academia, research institutions and specialist business advice for innovation projects to develop new ideas, new products, new processes and to help companies grow. 50% of the equivalent cash value of the support must be contributed by the company.

Funded by East Midlands Development Agency (emda) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Food and Drink iNet co-ordinates innovation support for businesses, universities and individuals working in the food and drink sector in the East Midlands. One of four iNets, it strives to develop an effective network to encourage the collaboration of academic expertise and knowledge, and local food and drink business innovation needs.

It aims to build on the tradition of innovation in the food and drink industry in the region by helping to create opportunities to develop knowledge and skills, and to help research, develop and implement new products, markets, services and processes.

The Food and Drink iNet is managed by a consortium, led by the Food & Drink Forum and including Food Processing Faraday, Nottingham Trent University, the University of Lincoln, and the University of Nottingham. It is based at Southglade Food Park, Nottingham, with advisors covering the East Midlands region.

For more information visit www.eminnovation.org.uk/food

Founded in 1990 by Mazhar Butt, Butt Foods Ltd produces a wide range of speciality bakery products for food service, retail and catering. It bakes up to 60 million products every year at its purpose-built manufacturing unit.

The business has brought a number of firsts to the table, including flat breads and bread bowls. Its latest innovation, the Big Softy, is available in plain white, plain brown, semolina topped white, honey and oats topped brown, and cheese and herb topped white. Baked in foot-long moulds or as 8 inch sub rolls, the range is available nationally through distributors.