Finsbury Food Group is investing £1m in its three new Scottish businesses, acquired
in November 2005.
The group plans to upgrade all three businesses, California Cake Company, Campbell’s
Cake Company and United Central Bakeries (UCB), CEO Dave Brooks told British Baker. It wants to improve their infrastructure, grow capacity and improve flexibility, he said.
A segregated gluten-free production area is being created at UCB, at a cost of around £200,000. That project is set to finish in February. At California Cake Company, which makes low-fat slices, slicing processes will be automated, at a cost of £500,000. And Finsbury plans to spend £250,000 at Campbells, which currently makes only no-bake products, particularly caramel slices. It hopes to install a bakery, requiring an extension to the premises and is also negotiating with the local council to buy the freehold for the property.
Mr Brooks revealed that Finsbury plans to expand the ranges of its new companies, creating innovative new products. “At the moment California makes low-fat slices, and this low-fat expertise can be transferred to other products,” he said. “We are likely to see range proliferation, growing our businesses to the mutual benefit of us and our retail customers.”
Following its buying spree Finsbury is analysing its purchasing operations and hopes to renegotiate prices due to volume increases, he added.
Finsbury’s Nicholas & Harris (N&H) bakery division has gained listings at Sainsbury’s, Asda, Tesco and Morrisons, he revealed, although Waitrose will remain the key customer. And N&H is launching a new Country Miller organic brand in Tesco and Sainsbury’s. An initial range of four morning goods, inclu-ding dinner rolls, will be rolled out over the first quarter. “This is a more mainstream organic brand, compared to Nicholas & Harris’s other organic brand, Village Bakery, which does
niche products such as rye breads,” Mr Brooks said. The Country Miller brand was piloted with Tesco before Christmas.