Welsh pancakes make their way to the land down under
A Welsh bakery has clinched a lucrative Australia pancake contract, and added 20 new staff members to its workforce, after popping up during an internet search.
According to the Jones Village Bakery, which celebrates its 90th anniversary this year, it’s hoping the deal with a major Antipodean wholesale and distribution firm will open the door to sending a raft of other products to the new market Down Under.
It’s all been made possible by the Village Bakery’s investment in a new £2 million pancake production line which created 20 new jobs last year.
The new deal to supply Australian outlets will see a move to seven-days-a-week production and a further 20 jobs.
The initial agreement is to supply three types of American-style pancakes, buttermilk, blueberry and lemon flavours.
They will be frozen by specialist company Norish, located less than 500 yards away on Wrexham Industrial Estate, before being shipped to the other side of the world.
Next comes a 42-day voyage – and the fact that the pancakes are frozen gives them a 12-month shelf life.
With growing markets in France and Germany, exports are an essential ingredient in the company’s growing success, with overseas sales already topping £5 million and forecast to double over the next 12 months.
The Village Bakery’s Commercial Controller, New Zealander Glen Marriott, has played a key role in securing the Australia contract.
Glen said: “The distributor was looking for a new supplier and Googled people who make pancakes and we popped up.
“They liked our values and how we promote from within, the quality of the products and the facilities and that prompted a phone call from their managing director and it went from there.”
“They have national reach so these products will be going across the whole of the country, from Western Australia right across the Eastern seaboard.
“Phase one is to supply them with pancakes which will be going into cafes, restaurants, as well as catering companies who service the huge mining industry over there.
“While it might seem odd that a guy from New Zealand, who works in Wales is selling pancakes to Australia, I think it helps the process that I’m from that part of the world because I know how they do business.
“It’s all very exciting. They came here on a visit last October to get a feel for us as a company and see the facilities.
“They spent three days with us and it’s fair to say they were blown away by what they saw and they just loved the taste and texture of the pancakes.”
Flying the flag for Wales
Operations Director Simon Thorpe is equally excited by the potential for future growth.
He said: “This is big news for us because it represents another step on this amazing journey.
“What’s particularly gratifying is the confirmation that quality sells wherever you are in the world and that includes the southern hemisphere.
“If we can make products that we’re really proud of, I think that shines through and then when we bring customers to site, they can see the dedication and the passion of all the Village People involved in making all our great products.
“We’re also reaping the reward of investing £2 million to install our new, state-of-the-art pancake production line. It means even more new jobs because we are having to crew up to run the line seven days a week.
“Our partnership with Norish who freeze the pancakes means that the world is now our oyster and will enable us to continue to expand, boosting the economy here in Wrexham and flying the flag for Wales.”
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