Family-run operation Welsh Hills Bakery triumphed at the South and Mid Wales Chambers Welsh Business Awards in the Success in Overseas Trade category and went on to be named overall winner on the night.
The Hirwaun-based business, which supplies gluten-, dairy- and wheat-free cakes and biscuits to countries including Australia and the Middle East, triumphed in the Success through Overseas Trade category for the second year running, before being named overall winner at the ceremony last week (23 February).
The 60-year-old bakery was started in 1956 by Aberdare baker Ernest Rule and his wife Ruby. It is now run by the third generation of the same family, employs 82 staff and produces over 80 product lines.
Last year the business sold around £5m-worth of products, 20% of which were exports. The first company to supply two major UK supermarket chains (Sainsbury’s and Tesco) with their own brand of gluten-free products, it has since added others to the portfolio including Asda, Waitrose, Morrisons and Holland & Barrett.
“Last year, at these awards, we were privileged to win the Success through Overseas Trade Welsh Business Award,” said Julian Cruttenden, commercial head of Welsh Hills Bakery. “To win it twice is overwhelming. The acknowledgement that we were doing a great job encouraged us to focus our efforts even more on the export sector.
“In 2016, 20% of our sales were in exports. We are currently in talks with Japan and Dubai and planning to increase that figure by a further 50% in the next 12 months. All this and we are about to appear in a Morrisons advert. This support and validation means the world to us.”