Prima Bakeries, the Cornish company, has just invested £100,000 as it anticipates major growth for the brand. 

Mark Norton, managing director, has just paid the last payment on his business loan this month after five years, meaning he now owns Prima outright.

Turnover has grown 35% year-on-year to the company’s year-end in August and Norton anticipates a further 20% growth in the next year. Primarily wholesale (90%), the business currently produces around 18,000 pasties a week. This is up from 500 a week five years ago and Norton predicts Prima will produce 24,000 a week in the next year.

In five years the business has gone from employing 19 staff to 63 and has 30% capacity left at the manufacturing site for more growth. Around £100,000 has been spent on new machinery, provers, ovens, dividers and more vans in the last six months in a mixture of improvement and expansion.

“Since [the business] has been mine we have got much more heavily into foodservice business and do much more around bread and pasties,” Norton told British Baker.

Of the wholesale business, around half is foodservice and half retail, with products going to customers including Londis and Costcutters. Distribution is entirely contained within Cornish borders.

The remaining 10% is provided by two retail shops and Norton has no plans to extend this side, instead choosing to focus on wholesale.

“Our future is in wholesale,” he said. “There are some very good retailers out there but there is no other competitor like us in Cornwall. The problem with retail is you make the product, put it in the shop and hope it sells – if it rains, it doesn’t.”

The business is equally split in thirds between pasties, bread and rolls and cake and confectionery.