Luxury pudding maker Coles Traditional Foods is to become part of the Wilkin & Sons group, best-known for its Tiptree preserves.

Coles, based near Saffron Walden, Essex, specialises in the production of traditional Christmas puddings, premium puddings and cakes.

It employs around 20 staff at its site at Great Chesterford, and has seen increasing UK sales, as well as a successful export business.

Chris Cole, whose father started the business over 70 years ago, will remain as managing director.

“It’s very much business as usual here at Great Chesterford,” said Cole. “My main concern was to protect the future of the business and to look after the workforce. I’m delighted that we will be working with Wilkin & Sons.”

Ian Thurgood, joint MD of Wilkin & Sons, commented: “Coles has an international reputation for high quality. It’s a great opportunity for two premium brands to work together. We plan to develop and strengthen the Coles brand.”

In April this year Wilkin & Sons announced the purchase of 100% of the shares of Raven Patisserie, now Tiptree Patisserie.

>>Raven Patisserie changes name to Tiptree