Food manufacturer invests in new factory

The rising demand for gluten-free food has led a food manufacturer to invest in a new factory.

Scunthorpe-based Abbeydale Food Group is planning to double turnover after acquiring and refurbishing the 14,000 sq ft facility in the town.

The company has been supported in the move by a £100,000 Business Loan from Finance Yorkshire.           

Finance Yorkshire’s investments to date have created and safeguarded 9,240 jobs across Yorkshire and the Humber and generated private sector leverage of some £167 million.

Abbeydale Food Group supplies supermarkets and caterers with prepared foods including frozen meat pies and vegetables.

The £7.5m turnover business was set up as a holding company in 2011 to purchase two companies out of administration: Saxon Quality Foods (formerly Country Chef) and Chapel Foods (formerly Denby Dale Pie Company). It later acquired frozen mushy pea business Pie Toms.

The growth in demand for gluten-free products meant the company needed to relocate Chapel Foods and Pie Toms to the new premises.

Andrew Hayes, managing director, said: “People are more aware of gluten intolerance and this has led to an increase in demand for gluten-free products. We had reached a point where our existing facilities were unsuitable to meet this demand.”

Abbeydale Food Group secured two previous investments of £50,000 from Finance Yorkshire, which assisted in the purchase of new equipment and the cost of fulfilling contracts.

Additional financial support for the factory investment was provided by the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership and Lloyds Bank.

Alex McWhirter, chief executive of Finance Yorkshire, said: “Our Business Loan investments enable SMEs to realise their potential, securing and increasing jobs in the region. Our latest investment in Abbeydale Food Group shows how Finance Yorkshire is continuing to invest and how we can help other businesses achieve sustainable growth.

“Abbeydale Food Group fits our remit of investing in growing, innovative companies – the  gluten free market is now worth over £180m and continues to innovate having had the highest number of product launches of any food category.”

David Ward, portfolio manager at Finance Yorkshire, said: “We made this latest investment in Abbeydale Food Group in response to its growing sales, particularly to supermarkets. We were pleased to work alongside other lenders in supporting an important regional employer.

“We see a bright future for the business, as it looks to drive sales through the development of new food product lines.”

Andrew added: “We have doubled our turnover once and we want to do it again. We will do this by continuing to develop quality, traditional British foods that meet the needs of retailers, caterers and the consumer.”

Finance Yorkshire provides seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15,000 to £2m to help a range of small and medium sized businesses to meet their funding requirements for growth and development.

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Melanie Reynolds and David Ward of Finance Yorkshire with Andrew Hayes of Abbeydale Food Group

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