Review of the year 2017: April to June

As the year draws to a close, we look back at some of the major stories that have impacted the baking industry in 2017.

See here for a review of January to March 2017.

April

  • Warburtons announced plans to close its Giles Foods bakery in Milton Keynes, which produced own-label products including garlic bread. Warburtons said the decision was a result of “significant ongoing challenges facing the business and is despite considerable time and financial investment”. In June, it confirmed the closure of the site.
  • Bakery packaging specialist Reynards, which entered administration in March, was resurrected by Intelipac, a supplier of products including bakery and deli bags, carrier bags and corrugated cardboard boxes to retailers in the UK and Australia. The new business – Reynards Food Packaging Ltd – is run from the Reynards’ head office in Manchester.
  • Genius Foods announced 115 workers were to be made redundant as part of plans to end production of non-branded products. “In order to support our market-leading position, we need to simplify and focus on developing and investing in a strong Genius brand,” said Genius chief executive Jeremy Bradley. In August, the business said it would close its production facility in Hull with the loss of 68 roles
  • Northampton-based bakery Oliver Adams closed its 17 outlets, resulting in 150 redundancies. Insolvency experts BRI said the business ceased trading after Oliver Adams “failed” in its attempts to save the company. Ian Cooke, insolvency manager for BRI, said he had been working to keep the business afloat over the past year.

May

  • Daelmans Group closed its former Fabulous Bakin’ Boys factory in Witney, Oxfordshire, with all 21 staff made redundant. The closure came three years after the Dutch bakery business acquired The Fabulous Bakin’ Boys out of administration with plans to develop and grow its portfolio. The closure followed a strategic review of Daelmans manufacturing and trading operations, which resulted in it consolidating its manufacturing base.
  • Sainsbury’s began selling Patisserie Valerie products on its patisserie counters under a new partnership. Handmade cakes and pastries, such as its individual slices and gateaux, are made and delivered by Patisserie Valerie in the morning and sold in the brand’s own presentation boxes by Sainsbury’s. Initially trialled at 12 stores, the scheme has been extended to 18 Sainsbury’s.
  • Bread brands again took three of the top spots in a list of Britain’s most chosen brands. Warburtons, Kingsmill and Hovis dominated the annual Brand Footprint UK ranking, produced by retail analysts Kantar Worldpanel. It showed Warburtons was the most popular UK fmcg brand, with 84.2% of the population buying it an average of 25.2 times a year, although it lost some ground compared to last year. In contrast, Kingsmill was the fastest-growing fmcg brand in the Brand Footprint top 10, pushing Hovis down from fourth place in the top 10 last year to fifth this year.

June

  • Bimbo Little Adventures, owned by Grupo Bimbo, launched into the UK market for the first time with a range of baked family snacks. Each product is inspired by flavours from either Spain, France or Japan.
  • Greencore acquired a manufacturing facility opened by Tasties of Chester in 2015. The processing site is at West Drayton, near Heathrow. The 40,000sqm site, in Stockley Close, was a £4m investment by Street Eats as part of a plan to triple its manufacturing capacity and improve distribution links within the South of England.
  • Suffolk-based family flour milling company C Marston & Sons was bought out of administration by Heygates Limited. Marston’s flour mill in Icklingham, Bury St Edmunds, was sold for an undisclosed amount to Heygates. A freehold property owned by related property holding company D and S Marston Limited was sold to Throop Milling Limited.
  • Warburtons reported that turnover had fallen more than £25m in the 52 weeks to 24 September 2016 as the “increasingly competitive” wrapped bread market impacted the business. But although sales fell 4.6% year on year to £526.3m, operating profit increased 2.3% to £35.5m as the business kept a tight rein on costs.
  • Greggs announced the opening of its first UK drive-through on the outskirts of Salford, Manchester. The site created 25 new jobs and is open seven days a week from 6am-9pm on Monday to Friday, 7am-7pm on Saturday and 8am-6pm on Sunday.

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