Surrey bakery manufacturer The Cookie Man has been forced to call in the administrators, after changing consumer tastes and strong competition severely hit profits.

ReSolve Partners LLP was appointed as administrator at lunchtime on Monday 16 January. Cameron Gunn, a senior partner at ReSolve, told British Baker it has continued to trade the business, while it urgently seeks fresh investment, in the form of a buyer. Interest in the business to date has been very positive, added the administrator, with a further announcement on its future expected in the next 48 hours.

The firm employs 350 staff, 25 of which were made redundant yesterday (18 January), said Gunn, who added ReSolve may need to make further redundancies before a sale is completed.

The Esher-based bakery manufacturer, which filed its latest accounts on 18 November 2011, reported a huge drop in gross profit to £2.400m for the year ended 31 December 2010, from £4.298m for the comparable period in 2009.

This resulted in a loss after taxation of £437,591, compared to a profit of just over £300,000 the previous year.

The directors’ report stated the main threats to business were believed to be changing consumer tastes, and “the predominance of lower-value products in the market”. It added that competition continued to be strong “in these times of over-capacity in this industry”.