A new deal with independent sandwich chain Philpotts has contributed to Exquisite Handmade Cakes’ 30% year-on-year growth over the past two years.

The Leeds-based bakery firm is currently supplying the 23-shop chain with a range of cakes and traybakes and, from next week, Philpotts will be adding another six to the menu. These include: Dark Sticky Ginger, Chocolate and Vanilla Marble, and Brandy Fruit Loaf.

The business, started seven years ago by former chartered accountant Viv Parry, is currently turning over £1.7m, and employs 30 staff. It produces gateaux, loaf cakes, traybakes and wrapped bakery goods, which are supplied to retail outlets, such as cafés, as well as airlines.

The firm has also recently invested in a new “retail-focused” packaging rebrand, which MD Parry said has allowed the business to expand sales of its branded range with two of its key foodservice distribution customers. She told British Baker that the future growth is very much a staged plan to, in the short term, build on its brand and invest in sales and marketing initiatives.

“We are also looking at new markets,” Parry continued. “To date, we have concentrated on ambient foodservice distributors, but we are now looking to expand into supplying frozen food distributors and, to facilitate this, we have invested in a cold store facility on site. We will also be looking at other new markets including other airlines, train lines and other high-end retail with a new range of products.”

The firm also hopes to move to a new site within the next two years, to support its future growth plans.

Parry said the decision to maintain its home-baked and hand-crafted quality ethos, and to really listen to customer feedback is what helped the business take off. “We have regular tasting panels and if a line doesn’t retain the great ‘just home-baked’ taste, it doesn’t go out,” added production director and master baker Chris Parrington.