“Compared to what we have as a small business, the facilities at Sheffield Hallam are amazing.”

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  4. Helping a long-established bakery enhance their product range

“Compared to what we have as a small business, the facilities at Sheffield Hallam are amazing.”

Barnsley company White’s Bakery have been baking sweet treats since 1934, selling to local authorities, caterers, schools, hotels and restaurants across the nation.

They wanted to reduce the sugar content in the products they make for schools, so they turned to the experts in our food and nutrition department. Through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) we are working with them to help children make healthier choices, without missing out on the sweet tastes they love.

We spoke to sales director Georgina White about the project.

When did you first work with Sheffield Hallam University?

About two or three years ago, we worked with some food and nutrition students on a dissertation project to make different products healthier. Myself and our operations director Matthew White also did the Help to Grow: Management training programme.

How did this particular project come about?

Suzy Jones, the academic who ran the dissertation project, told us about KTPs. Having an almost fully funded extra member of staff for 18 months was a no-brainer.

How did you find the process of applying for funding?

It was our first time and it did seem quite drawn out. But Sheffield Hallam made it straightforward. We were never left alone with it — they were in every meeting and guided us all the way through the process.

What kind of expertise and facilities have you been able to use?

Compared to what we have as a small business, the facilities at Sheffield Hallam are amazing. They have labs and various food testing equipment which our KTP associate can use whenever she wants to work on our products. There are also nutrition academics there who are helping with the project.

What impact are you hoping to achieve from this KTP?

We want to make our product range the healthiest it can be but still keep it sweet so kids enjoy it. We want to tackle the obesity crisis in schools, push healthy eating as a USP for our business, and ultimately help to improve food standards in school.

Alongside that we hope it will have a big impact on the business. Our KTP associate has already found some potential savings on raw materials.

We also have a few clients who are close to signing up with us, but they have strict sugar and salt standards. This KTP project will allow us to sign off on those contracts which could be a huge part of our business in the future.

Would you recommend KTPs at Sheffield Hallam to other small businesses?

Yes. They are eager to help and they understand the challenges of an SME.

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