Raynor Foods employees

Source: Raynor Foods

Raynor Foods’ entire workforce of 300-plus employees has been given a financial stake in the business and a say in the way it is run

Food-to-go sandwich supplier Raynor Foods has confirmed a switch to a 100% employee-owned structure.

The Raynor family, who established the business in Chelmsford in 1988, transferred their entire shareholding to an Employee-Owned Trust (EOT) last month.

“We are delighted to announce that Raynors have joined the growing group of energetic and successful companies who have decided that an employee-owned structure provides the best basis for future growth and continuous improvement of employee welfare and motivation,” said the company in a statement.

Raynor Foods noted there would be none of the upheaval associated with a change in ownership, with the company continuing to be run in the same way, by the same people and the term ‘family firm’ now extending its meaning to include every member of the workforce.

Current directors will remain while interim head of finance Ian Aston takes on a permanent role as finance director. Family members Matthew and Heather Raynor would be assuming non-executive roles so that the business would not lose their experience and technical skills.

“As we enter this exciting new era for Raynors, we look forward to continuing our partnerships with customer and suppliers and maintaining our focus on being a progressive and constantly improving food manufacturing business,” added the company.

Over the years, Raynor Foods has grown from a small local operator into a national supplier with a 40-van fleet and more than 300 staff making over 19 million sandwiches, wraps, rolls and salads a year.

Its most recent results for the year ended 31 March 2023 posted a turnover of £24.3m, a remarkable 44% increase on the £16.8m recorded during previous financial year. Gross profit had also almost doubled to £6.3m, while gross margin had improved to 25.8%.

Claiming that it is widely recognised as an industry-leading innovator, particularly in sustainability, Raynor Foods highlighted achievements including pioneering carbon footprinting of sandwich products in 2009, starting zero-to-landfill reprocessing of organic waste in 2014, removing plastics from its sandwich and wrap ranges in 2019, and beginning hydroponic cress farming on-site in 2020.

The government states that workers at employee-owned businesses must have both a financial stake in the business and a say in how its run (known as employee engagement). Meanwhile, the Employee Ownership Association website has the current number of employee-owned firms in the UK at 1,418 – one example in the bakery sector is equipment supplier Chandley Ovens, which transferred ownership to employees in June 2022.