Warburtons – the fifth-generation family bakery brand – is investing £56 million in its manufacturing and distribution capabilities. This is to ensure it is set up to meet the growing demand for innovation in the bakery sector and further strengthen its ability to get daily fresh products to stores across the country.
The investment will see the development of three new Warburtons distribution facilities in Widnes, Bognor Regis and Banbury, creating 150 jobs. In addition, it is also investing in improving the environmental credentials of its fleet of almost 1000 vehicles by introducing new electric and compressed natural gas vehicles and significantly upgrading the technology used across the entire distribution network.
To meet the growing demand for non-bread bakery products and, in particular, the rise in popularity of crumpets and bagels, Warburtons is also building two new bakery plants; a new thin bagel line at Stockton bakery and a new crumpet plant at Burnley.
Jonathan Warburton, Chairman of Warburtons, said: “Investing in our infrastructure is key to ensuring the long-term success of our fifth-generation family business. Consumer tastes are changing, and we are working hard to make sure we are providing a range of products to meet consumer demand. This investment programme will allow us to better respond to these tastes for non-bread baked goods and meet the growing demand for crumpets and bread alternatives such as thin bagels.
“We also bake 24/7, 364 days a year and pride ourselves on a running a world class distribution network and our sites are situated across the country to enable us to bake and deliver fresh to over 19,000 stores each day. The investment in 3 new depots will have a critical role in ensuring we can further support our customers and get bakery to store as fresh as possible each day.”
The new distribution depots will be built in Widnes, Bognor Regis and Banbury and will replace three existing sites in Speke, Waterlooville and Buckingham. There will be no headcount reductions as part of the move to the new sites, and the company is currently in the process of actively recruiting for 150 additional distribution roles.
Combined with its existing infrastructure, the new sites will allow the company to deliver the 2 million products within 12 hours to stores ensuring unbeatable freshness. This investment in distribution capabilities has also been fuelled by a desire to innovate for the consumer and allow it to grow and simultaneously meet the changing tastes of consumers, wherever they are in the UK.
In addition, the investment will enable it to further maximise its industry-leading distribution network to support its retailer partners by collecting and delivering their private label bakery direct to their stores.
The investment in manufacturing includes £18 million to create a new thin bagels line at its Stockton bakery, which will be operational in June 2022. While at its Burnley bakery, Warburtons is investing £8 million to create a new crumpet line to be operational in October 2021.
Today’s investment programme will lay down a solid platform for the future of the business, enhancing its distribution capability, enabling it to meet consumer demand and ensure it can successfully deliver its strategic customer partnerships.