Nairns - reformulation case studies

“Our customers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their knowledge of what constitutes a healthy and balanced diet. At Nairns our highest priority is to meet their expectations with delicious tasting products”

Mark Laing, Managing Director, Nairns


  • The company's salt reduction programme began in 2003.
  • A 56% reduction in salt has been achieved on the back of new equipment and baking profiles.
  • The key challenge is to create wheat- and/or gluten-free products which are natural, healthy and delicious.
  • In 2011 Nairn's reduced the salt in their best seller Rough oatcakes by 10% and implemented a 10% to 12% sugar reduction across their oat biscuit range.
  • A key challenge is to understand the chemical pathways which cause rancidity in oatcakes in order to extend the shelf life whilst reducing the saturated fat.
  • Work continues to achieve further reductions in salt content of the range.
  • New manufacturing equipment has been purchased to improve product, taste, texture and consistency.

Nairns has long been at the forefront of the manufacture of biscuits and oatcakes that are better for you. That's why twin targets of lower salt content and 'better for you' fats have been the priority of its product improvement programme.

Nairn's Oatcakes packsIn 2003 work started on salt reduction in Nairns Rough Oatcakes. High levels of salt were traditionally considered to be a necessity in the production of an oatcake both to achieve taste and texture.

The new product development department initiated an in-depth study of the challenge and using a programme of kitchen and plant trials underpinned by extensive consumer research the company has been able to reduce the salt levels in Nairns Rough Oatcakes by 56%.

To achieve this remarkable result new capital equipment was purchased and new baking profiles were introduced, which have improved the texture, taste and consistency of the product.

Work continues to investigate further reductions in the salt content of the oatcake range.

Nairns has started work on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership project with The Scottish Crop Research Institute to progress work on 'better for you' fats.

Since 2006 the project has already shown a 37% reduction of saturated fats in Nairns Rough Oatcakes.

Work is being carried out to understand the relationship of the chemical pathways which cause rancidity in oatcakes so the shelf life of the product can be extended whilst reducing the amount of saturated fat.

The key, however, is to retain the product's quality, taste and texture, for which Nairns is renowned. The company continues to be proactive in the delivery of new recipe formulations to meet the requirements of its discerning customers.

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Last reviewed: 06 Jul 2009