Top Welsh butcher clinches banger of a sausage deal to supply 500 Co-op stores
Top Welsh butcher Edwards of Conwy has just clinched a deal that will put their award-winning bangers on the shelves of over 500 Co-op stores.
Their six-pack sausages will be on sale at Co-op supermarkets across the Midlands and North West of England as well as in 130 stores in Wales and the border counties.
Edwards of Conwy have invested £2.6 million in a newly expanded production facility on the Morfa Conwy Business Park, in Conwy, which will soon be producing an extra 14,000 sausages a week to cope with the increased demand.
Managing Director Simon James said: “Our ability to respond to increased demand during the pandemic means more customers have been able to try our sausages and other products for the first time, and the response has been fantastic.
“We have a really good relationship with the Co-op and I think they like the fact that we’re a smaller company and we’re able to respond more quickly than some much bigger suppliers.
“This is a major move for us and means we’ll be in three times as many Co-op stores”
Edwards of Conwy Chairman Ieuan Edwards, who founded the business in Conwy High Street in 1984, said: “We have been working with the Co-op since 2015 and they’re a very good fit for us because their ethos is the same as our own.
“We are a community-based business and share the same values while they also have a lot of stores in smaller communities where their customers are more likely to be attracted to something that is clearly a local product.
“It’s good news for our suppliers too and it means we are selling more of what we do really well.”
Edwards of Conwy sausages are made with pork shoulder, a more premium cut, and are Red Tractor assured – the largest food assurance scheme in the UK with high standards on animal welfare, food safety, traceability and environmental protection.
Their sausages, the company’s signature product, are their best-sellers, and their team of butchers make 40 million a year.
They are also backed by Ieuan Edwards himself who has sign-off on all the company’s products including their latest award-winner, their dry-cured unsmoked bacon which picked up two Great Taste Awards.
Their Dry Cured Bacon and Thick Cut Dry Cured Bacon got the nod from the judges who said: “Wonderful looking rasher of bacon with the most fabulous classic aroma.
“The texture is firm but releases good flavour of bacon which is being enhanced by the very balanced cure which is bringing salty and sweet notes while allowing the bacon/pork to be the star. This is how good bacon should taste.”
The business has coped with the increased demand while redeveloping its headquarters, adding a fourth production line with the latest state-of-the-art equipment.
The revamp also includes additional chilled storage, upgraded staff amenities, new offices, and a new product development kitchen.
The project will enable the growing company to ramp up production of its popular range of sausages, beef burgers, meatballs, bacon and gammon to more than 80 tons a week.
The investment has been self-funded by the company with additional support from the Welsh Government’s Rural Communities Development programme and a loan from HSBC.
Edwards of Conwy supplies all the major supermarkets and can be found in more than 800 stores across Wales, as well as at the original butcher’s shop which was crowned Best Butchers Shop in the UK in 2014 and has since three times been crowned Best Butchers Shop in Wales.
The business diversified into manufacturing in 2004 when national supermarkets Tesco and Asda began to stock their products and the rest of the household shopping giants soon followed.
The company’s journey began when Ieuan Edwards, one of three sons of a family farm near Llanrwst, realised the farm wasn’t big enough to support all of them.
He trained as a butcher in Llanrwst – and later in Switzerland and Holland – before opening the shop which is still at the heart of the business.
The redeveloped and upgraded manufacturing site is the latest chapter in a success story based on a commitment to provide customers with delicious high quality meat products.
Simon James added: “For us flavour is king, but we also insist on high quality standards for our meat. All of our beef is Welsh and has PGI – Protected Geographical Indication – status while our pork and chicken are Red Tractor quality assured as an absolute minimum.”