Warburtons coy on expansion plans as growth in gluten-free and Eastern Europe booms

By Nilpa Shah

- Last updated on GMT

Photo credit: Warburtons
Photo credit: Warburtons

Related tags Eastern europe Europe European union Warburtons

British bakery firm, Warburtons, has announced plans to invest and diversify its business over the next ten years, both in the UK and abroad as it sees strong performance in gluten-free and eastern European markets.

Warburtons is expected to double the size of its business to £1bn and intends “on spending in excess of £200m in the next five years to diversify within the bakery category​.”

As part of this diversification process, the company is seeking to develop into “new sectors​” and “across new markets​” as well as expanding some of its current line of products – including gluten-free and baked goods.

In addition, Warburtons has also recently made its first entry into the international market, exporting its goods to Eastern European countries as part of a trial with Tesco, in an attempt to reach new markets and further expand its business.

Development and diversification

BakeryandSnacks.com spoke to Warburtons to find out more about their future plans, following the announcement which was made at the Society of Food Hygiene and Technology’s 2011 lecture in London.

A spokesperson for the company said that it wishes to continue developing, having spent “over £370m in the past ten years, primarily in new bakeries​” across the UK.

Discussing the products that Warburtons has recently developed, the spokesperson added that this year, the firm has also invested over £4m in a “dedicated gluten-free bakery​” based in Newburn, North East England.

In addition it has created a new plant in Bristol “to meet the growing demand​” for its wraps and sandwich thins – a type of bread which is thinner and lighter than the ordinary kind.

The spokesperson also claimed that Warburtons is the “first baker in the UK to enter into the baked snack category​” with its baked pitta chips and explained that the company views this as “a key area of growth… over the next 12 months​.”

European expansion

In October 2011, Warburtons began exporting its products to the Eastern European market in collaboration with Tesco as part of a six month trial. For the first time its products were made available in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland.

The spokesperson told this publication that the firm “believes there is [also] a strong demand amongst customers in Central Europe​” for its products.

The spokesperson added that expanding Warburtons’ presence with retail brands, such as Tesco, helps it “to reach new markets​” and to “fulfil the current gap in the market for good quality bakery products​.”

Although the spokesperson admitted that the “present market place has never been so competitive​”, Warburtons is investing more money and expanding, in order to continue “to grow the business and challenge convention on an ongoing basis​.”

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