Poole’s Pies has gained an exclusive contract with the BBC, as it looks to build its foodservice business. The Wigan-based firm began supplying pies and pastries to the broadcasting corporation, as of 19 November, and also hopes to supply the new ITV studios in Media City in Salford, it told British Baker.
Neil Court-Johnston, managing director, said: "We are trying to establish a balanced business, with an even split between retail and foodservice. We’ve just won some major education and health care supply contracts, including Manchester and Salford universities. We are also proud to now be supplying Christie’s Hospital, a leading cancer hospital in the north of England, where our products will be on the menu and in the staff room." The firm has also just clinched an exclusive deal to supply Asda, and is about to start exporting its crumbles to Hong Kong and Australia.
Earlier this month, the manufacturer said it would be moving into the chilled pie and pastry market from September 2013. Court-Johnston said the price of a chilled pie was generally too high, and that he was confident the firm could produce them for less. "The only thing we’ve been missing is the baking ability of these products at scale," he explained. To combat this, the bakery will soon be taking ownership of a new travelling oven, and has already spent £3.5m on a new Rademaker laminator, capable of handling up to 50,000 products per hour, he said.
Poole’s Pies will produce chilled plate pies and individual pastries and slices, with an even split between sweet and savoury, he added. "Sweet may be a bigger opportunity than savoury for growth, as the trade tells us they often have to go abroad for these types of products, as it’s difficult to get high-quality classic British desserts, produced at scale."
Poole’s Pies has two factory sites located side by side. Frozen production will be consolidated in one site, while the other will be dedicated to chilled production, confirmed Court-Johnston.