In the early 1940s the UK government decided that calcium, in the form of chalk, should be added to wartime bread in an attempt to reduce rickets outbreaks.
The UK government wanted to deal with a single industry body and so, in 1943, encouraged a merger of the Northern and Southern Region Whiting Associations, giving rise to the British Whiting Federation (BWF). The same year also saw the Calcium Flour Order passed which made the addition of chalk to flour mandatory – an order which is still in place today.
After World War II, an effort by the BWF to boost the competitiveness of the chalk industry led to the creation of a Research Council in 1947. With the support of the government, a research institute in Welwyn was established and the skills of more than 20 scientists were deployed to develop different applications for chalk across industries. Their work opened new markets for whiting producers, who found particular success with its application as a filler, with companies producing wallpaper, linoleum, rubber, paints and sealants increasingly choosing to the use of British chalk. This success even saw producers export significant quantities to USA.
In the following decades, the importance of all forms of calcium carbonate became as important as the use of whiting as an industrial filler. In 1989 the BWF became the British Calcium Carbonates Federation (BCCF) as the membership was widened to include suppliers of limestone, dolomite, marble and Precipitated Calcium Carbonate (PCC).
More recently the BCCF rebranded to become the British and Irish Calcium Carbonates Federation (BICFF) to better represent it's membership base. the BICCF has ten member companies supplying over 3.5 million tonnes of calcium carbonate for a multitude of applications, such as adhesives and sealants, animal feeds, coatings, environmental uses, food, glass, paper, pharmaceuticals, personal care, plastics, rubber and many more.