Baked snacks manufacturer Wholebake has been given the go-ahead for a £14m factory development in North Wales as it aims to grow its turnover to £40m in the next few years.
The business, which produces a range of goods including flapjacks and 9bar-branded snack bars, is to build a 14,300 sq m food manufacturing plant with warehousing, distribution and office facilities; and a ‘wellbeing unit’ with a gym for staff and their families.
Wholebake has been granted planning permission by Denbighshire County Council to build the factory in Corwen, where it already has a 2,400 sq m factory that will continue to be used. It also operates a smaller plant in Wrexham and a separate HQ in Chester.
In its planning application, the business said it lacked room for expansion and storage at its current sites, and had to rely on ferrying raw materials and products between Corwen and the warehouse at Wrexham, which it described as “unsustainable as it is generating too many vehicle trips”.
Wholebake said it had increased turnover from £4m in 2003 to £26m currently, and aimed to grow this to £40m by 2019, when the new factory is expected to come on line.
The firm’s application said Wholebake was regularly approached by potential customers wanting it to manufacture existing products and help develop their brands, but had been forced to turn down four out of every five of these due to space constraints.
“The company wishes to appeal to young challenger brands, existing household names as well as retailer private label, and impress with a well thought out and smart site, offering unique and flexible capabilities,” stated the application. “There is therefore a need to ensure that manufacturing space, offices, and staff amenities are presentable and have the ability to provide modern flexible production lines.”
It added that product innovation had been a “massive part” of Wholebake’s success and that to maximise future margins the businesses needed new processes, skills, facilities and training and development to ensure it maintained its competitive edge.
The Economic and Business Development Officer at Denbighshire council said: “From an economic and business development point of view, we are pleased to see this development presented.
“The potential increase in employment from 122 to 255 full-time jobs is particularly welcome and it is to be hoped that these will be recruited locally in the county.”