Bakery supplier Délifrance has completed a year-long £4m expansion of its Viennoiserie production facility in Wigston, near Leicester.

The business also announced a number of promotions on its senior team, with operations & supply chain director Andrew Cole promoted to managing director (see below).

The factory expansion, which doubles the facility’s capacity, comes as UK demand for Viennoiserie grows, driven by factors including increased interest in breakfast and convenient snacking products, said Cole.

Speaking at the launch this week, he commented: “The investment by Délifrance in this site and previously tens of millions in its other UK site in Southall, London, re-enforces the confidence of our parent company in UK production.”

Délifrance, part of European agricultural consortium Vivescia, was ambitious to double global presence and net sales, Cole said. The UK currently accounts for 23% of Délifrance’s global sales, with €150m turnover, and will play a significant part in growth plans, he said.

Around 40% of UK sales are of Viennoiserie. Fresh pre-packed short-life Viennoiserie as a category is unique to the UK market, and not known in Europe or the rest of the world.

In an evolving marketplace it was key to stay ahead of customer demand, providing added value at the right cost, Cole commented. What is an aspirational and top-tier product today, will soon become mass-market.

The new expanded Viennoiserie site at Wigston includes a finishing room, with innovative new machinery to inject fillings into fresh products and to top them.

This will allow Délifrance to offer seasonal specials, such as mincemeat-filled croissants, or croissants with liquid savoury fillings. Techniques are being developed, and the facility is set to come online early next year. Délifrance ranges also now include products such as vegan croissants.

Délifrance’s Viennoiserie facility at Wigston first opened in 2008, and is next door to a Délifrance frozen bread production plant.

Délifrance promotes directors

Andrew Cole, formerly operations & supply chain director at Délifrance UK, has been appointed MD of the company.

Cole, who has a background in engineering, joined Délifrance from Mars Drinks in 2017.

He will replace Ian Dobbie, who has been promoted to vice president of sales, marketing & innovation for Délifrance Group.

In his role as MD, Cole will retain overall responsibility for operations and supply, while stepping up as the head of UK activity.

Stephanie Brillouet, formerly marketing director for Délifrance UK, becomes marketing director for Northern Europe and North America.