Winner Crantock Bakery
Indian Queens, near Newquay, Cornwall
"You can’t stand still," says Nick Ringer, chairman and managing director of Crantock Bakery. "You have to develop new products, new ways of selling and explore new markets."
It was this spirit of innovation, together with an emphasis on product quality and superb customer service, which singled out Crantock for the judges. Six years ago a management buy-out put the pasty bakery into new hands and on to a path of expansion. The company now employs around 150 staff and turns over approximately £10 million per annum.
Now the traditional pasties, sausage rolls and pork pies (mainly sold to pasty chains for bake-off) and sweet goods like scones and Cornish ’heavy cake’ are also available in Europe and on long-haul flights. Constant NPD work ensures new lines - 42 last year alone - and Ringer says close working relationships with customers lead to new markets, such as universities.
Finalist Honeyrose Bakery
When she couldn’t find great-tasting organic cakes, former pastry chef Lise Madsen, now managing director and founder of Honeyrose, decided to create some herself. Eight years later, the company’s hand-mixed flapjacks, cakes, muffins, cookies and biscotti (some of which are ’free-from’) are produced for wholesale clients such as coffee chains and small independents. A selection is also available in 110 branches of Waitrose. The 40-strong company is turning over £2 million.
Honeyrose recently won a London Development Agency grant to add to its investment in a new facility, which will increase production capacity by 400%.
Madsen believes Honeyrose’s strengths are its focus on both product quality and customer satisfaction, together with its environmentally-friendly policy and its strong investment in the fast-growing organic sector.
Finalist Pooles of Wigan
Pooles has been operating, in one guise or another, since 1847. It has belonged to the present owner since the 1980s and been known as Pooles since 2003. The company produces frozen, unbaked savoury pies and sausage rolls for bake-off and primarily serves the multiples. Some sweet pies are also on the product list. Around 60 staff work at the fully-automated plant.
The company prides itself on using only the best ingredients - local or British wherever possible - and producing a quality product, says managing director John Norman Coan. Around £8 million has been invested over the past four years to improve the bakery premises and equipment. Pooles is also a registered training site.