Award category sponsored by

Winner: Wrights Foods

Crewe-based Wrights Foods, which employs 600 staff, is showing strong and steady growth.

With a diverse portfolio including breads, confectionery and ready meals, it is continually pushing boundaries, seeking new business and combining three elements: vision, drive and attention to detail.

Establishing new markets has been key to this growth.

So, as well as supplying restaurant brands, foodservice distributors, independent bakery shops, supermarket chains and 26 export markets, the company has formed a SkyCo logistics brand to supply international airlines, and an Urban Bistro brand providing food vending meal solutions.

These now sit alongside the Sheaf Street Bakery brand, aptly named after the company’s first bakery 93 years ago and, of course, Wrights’ own brand name.

Currently, skilled chefs are helping to develop new on-trend vegan lines. But whether it’s ready meals, pies, pasties, doughnuts, desserts or the hundreds of other products, managing director Peter Wright still says: “The family business’ founding principles are quality, innovation and integrity, they won’t change – ever.”

“We were impressed by the pride and effort taken in producing consistent
quality products in such a diverse business and the commitment to
carrying out every task in the right way.”

James Fitch, bakery sales manager at sponsor Reiser

Finalist: Roberts Bakery

This 130-year-old family business believes in challenging traditions and shaking up the bakery category.

From its plants in Cheshire and Derbyshire, Roberts employs just under 1,000 people and serves major supermarkets and convenience stores regionally and nationally across the UK.

The past two years have been particularly busy for Roberts, with investment in a new brand identity, positioning, and products, all designed to support the firm’s vision of being the UK’s next-generation bakery.

The business has also invested in reducing the amount of plastic used in its packaging and has just switched four of its best-selling white and brown sliced loaves into a sustainably sourced paper bag, cutting the plastic in it by 53%.

NPD is high on the agenda, with more than 20 products in development.

Moreover, Roberts’ new Digestion Boost range is selling well. It is made using organic live ferments, with all artificial preservatives removed to complement a healthy gut.

Finalist: Signature Flatbreads

This family business has grown to be a global supplier of flatbreads. Signature employs more than 700 people, exports to over 50 countries and owns bakeries in the UK and India.

The launch of Signature’s new brand, Deli Kitchen, is testament to the way the company works. The sandwich carriers include a wrap with half the calories of a tortilla, a bread cone ready for filling, a focaccia made with virgin olive oil, a cornbread similar to a Mexican taco, and more.

A daily 9am team meeting kicks off the day, bringing people together from 16 different disciplines. The previous day’s performance is assessed, with samples tasted and customer service levels checked. Over £30m has been invested in the past three years with a further £7m being invested this year, including another 50 jobs.

Owners William and Charles Eid say Signature is a values-driven business.

“Our commitment to providing product quality and excellence in everything we do, is central to our success.”