The MD of expanding London bakery café chain Apostrophe is keen to source more products from British suppliers, but says high prices for top-quality patisserie are a stumbling block.
The company, which currently has 17 outlets in London and plans to open a further three this year, sources its patisserie and Viennoiserie from French and Belgian suppliers. "We buy a lot of patisserie from a French firm that sources from very small artisan producers, making high-quality products with ingredients such as Isigny butter," said MD Amir Chen. "We are looking to source more locally, but in the UK if you want top-quality patisserie, you have to work with a supplier to develop a bespoke range, which means you end up paying more. We already pay 50% more [than other firms on the market] for our products. Buying a bespoke range would mean paying double."
The company has recently taken on a full-time food development manager to revamp its food range, with local sourcing a top priority, he added.
Apostrophe bakes-off pastries and bread in-store, with sandwiches freshly prepared each day. Tarts, cookies and muffins are also available, along with organic loaves such as walnut bread, black olive and herb sourdough and 100% rye bread.
Apostrophe did not open any stores in 2009, as it waited to see the effects of the recession, but Chen said confidence was now returning to the market. "There are a lot of areas in London where we could open. In the medium term, we are also looking to other parts of the country," he said.