Customer service winner at this year’s BIAs, JG Ross, expects competition to stiffen in 2015, but has exciting predictions for its gluten-free products.

Speaking to British Baker, Graeme Ross told us of the successes in 2014, and explained how the business will continue to position itself as the customer favourite.

“2014 was a very successful and eventful year for us. We picked up a number of awards at the start of the year for products, training and development and Entrepreneur of the Year at the Grampian Food Forum Innovation Awards and, of course, ended the year winning the BIA for Customer Service.

“We have achieved sales growth across all business segments. Our investment in EPoS tills, staff training and development, customer service, promotional activity and availability has all helped deliver growth in our retail shops. We are fortunate that craft bakery is strongly supported in the north east of Scotland, so despite the progress of discounters (whom we don’t supply) we have achieved excellent growth.

“We expect competition to continue to be tough during 2015, due to the growth of food outlets and the discounters. Our industry is built on healthy competition and our message is simple: stick to your core values whilst working closely with your customers to identify their needs, building mutually profitable partnerships. 

“We expect a very significant growth in sales of our gluten-free products, with a number of very exciting enquiries.

“We work closely with our business customers, supporting whenever we can through providing point of sale and sampling days. This has proved particularly successful in Tesco, Co-op stores and local independents. Our largest sales increase came from Scotmid. We have invested in 11 of their stores and provided support on staff training, point of sale and helped ensure product availability. During 2014 we also supplied gluten-free biscuits made at our free-from bakery to both Canada and the USA, as well as Europe.

“As a family business we have always put ourselves at the heart of the community we serve. We will continue to build on this during 2015 increasing our activity in social media (both Facebook and Twitter) and supporting local charities such as Inverurie Twilight walk in aid of Cancer Research and Northsound Cash for Kids.

“We will continue to listen to our customers by way of retail staff, our wholesale partners, and through social media to build on the new products we will bring to market, including variations on our best-selling butteries and cupcakes, such as Aberdeen Angus butteries or Irn Bru cupcakes, to new product categories, as gluten-free has been this year.”