Family pie firm Chappell’s Fine Foods has revealed ambitious expansion plans following its sale to food industry expert Ian Nicholls.

Based in Wigston, Leicestershire, the company was founded by David Chappell in 1972 and supplies butchers, delis and retailers with pies and pasties, including its Forryans Melton Mowbray Pork Pie.

Nicholls, who has previously worked for Associated British Foods and RHM, said he plans to quadruple turnover from approximately £750,000 to £3m in the next few years and double the 14-strong workforce at Chappell’s factory in Wigston’s Chartwell Industrial Estate.

He took over in mid-May, when a replacement was needed to run the business, after the founder suffered a stroke a couple of years ago.

"Our first objective is to double the turnover this year," explained Nicholls. It will be done through a focus on the marketing of the company’s range of products, including servicing existing customers, winning new customers and new product development for new and existing customers, he said.

"One thing we’ve not done much of is distributing pies as raw-frozen, which could be a good opportunity for growth, as the company has traditionally been distributing its products baked and chilled."

Nicholls also plans to take full advantage of Melton Mow-bray Pork Pie’s recently acquired protected geographical indication status (PGI).