British bakery business Carr’s Foods among top 10 fastest international sales growers

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

St Pierre is the leading European bakery brand in the US and a big contributor in assisting Carrs Foods in achieving seventh spot in the Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200. Pic: Carrs
St Pierre is the leading European bakery brand in the US and a big contributor in assisting Carrs Foods in achieving seventh spot in the Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200. Pic: Carrs

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Carrs Foods has been ranked seventh in this year’s Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200.

This is the first time the Manchester-based bakery business has been listed on Track 200, which grades Britain’s mid-market private companies with the fastest-growing international sales.

The company is also the only bakery business to make the top 10.

Baker Street Rye
Baker Street Rye

Now in its eighth year, Track 200 measures international sales overs over the latest two years of available accounts.

Carrs reported growth of 279% in 2016 compared to 2015, with global turnover of £38m ($48.63m). The company forecasts a turnover of £50m ($63.99m) by the end of this financial year.

Fortifying leading position

Jeremy Gilboy, MD of Carrs, told BakeryandSnacks: “Going forward, we hope the listing in the Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 will help strengthen our position as a market leader in the sector as we look to grow further in both the home and overseas markets.”

Carrs was established in 1986 as part of Harry’s Group, a large European bakery manufacturer, and became privately owned in 2004.

The company produces 104 products for the UK market, as well as an export range of 51 products. Among its brand portfolio are Paul Hollywood, St Pierre and Baker Street.

The bakery business also supplies multiple retailers with own-label products around the globe. Carrs ranges are listed in over 12,000 stores worldwide.

Category ‘disruptor’

St Pierre Brioche Butter Chicken Portrait LR
St Pierre Brioche

According to Gilboy, the ready-to-bake category had lacked true innovation and excitement for the consumer.

Carrs portfolio

St Pierre is a range of French and Belgian-made European bakery products, including brioche, croissants and pains au chocolat, crepes and Belgian sugar waffles.

Baker Street is a range of longer life breads, cakes and morning goods products developed for the wholesale and convenience markets. Products include rye breads, part baked breads, burger buns, hot dog rolls, soft rolls, sliced loaves, chilled flatbreads, toasting waffles, cake squares, celebration cakes, fairy cakes and mini muffins.

Paul Hollywood’s range of ready-to-bake breads includes white crusty, multi-seed and seeded rolls, as well as the recently launched Rustic loaf, Rustic baguette and Rustic rolls.

Carrs also supplies Walmart in the US with a range of European products, including French brioche loaf, marbled chocolate brioche, vanilla brioche, French brioche buns, brioche sliders and brioche buns.

Gilboy said the company also now exports to wider range of markets, including Australia, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and South America.

However, he believes “our agile approach to business means we are not restricted to using just one manufacturer, but have the flexibility of working with a number of partner bakeries with unique specialities and capabilities.

“This means we can respond quickly to new market opportunities, like we are doing in the US,”​ he said.

He contends Carrs Foods has bought originality and excitement to a traditional industry by identifying gaps in the market and new opportunities.

“Customers want the ‘whole package’ – that is, great tasting products that suit healthier lifestyles but also have the convenience of a longer shelf life,”​ he said.

As a result, Gilboy said St Pierre is now the No.1 European bakery brand in the US, the Baker Street brand has been growing rapidly in the Middle East and Europe, and the Paul Hollywood range has gone from strength to strength in the UK. Data supplied by Nielsen Brand Ranked Report for the US; 52 weeks to March 25, 2017

New products

“We have not only increased our global sales over the past two years but also expanded the Carrs Foods team and extended our brand portfolio, with the launch of new products,”​ said Gilboy.

The company introduced two stone-baked, sourdough rye breads to its Baker Street range; three new breads to Paul Hollywood’s Ready to Bake range; and a number of cakes and pastries to the St Pierre range.

He said that Carrs is planning to launch a range of French ready-to-bake baguettes under the St Pierre brand to the US in October.

“We hope to retain our position within the top 10 in the Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 over the next two years,”​ said Gilboy.

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