How Finsbury has defied crippling headwinds to remain buoyant

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

How Finsbury has defied crippling headwinds to remain buoyant

Related tags Finsbury food group coronavirus Brexit Russia-Ukraine conflict Inflation brand licensing Diageo Disney Thorntons Mary Berry

The UK bakery group’s FY2021 record results defied what was then considered one of the toughest markets in living history, and has continued to demonstrate ‘resilience and a strategic focus’ despite an even rougher environment this year.

According to CEO John Duffy, the company is stronger and more united than ever before – evident in its continued performance in H1 2021 – and reaping the benefits of its Operating Brilliance Programme.

“We have not been immune to the challenges arising from sudden and unexpected input cost inflation over the period. However, we have been able to mitigate the impact of these pressures through commercial negotiation and operational improvements and will see the benefit of these actions in our second half profit performance,”​ said Duffy.

“In the second half, we will continue to monitor closely and work through ongoing pressures using the same strategies employed to date. While headwinds are set to persist, we have a successful track record of navigating challenging market conditions, and the steps we have taken to optimise the business to date stand us in good stead.”

Know your capabilities

Diving deeper, marketing manger Daryl Newlands told BakeryandSnacks its about understanding where your capabilities lie and maximising what you're able to do.

“Certainly from a F&B point of view, we put the consumer at the heart of everything we do,”​ said Newlands.

“So, it’s making sure that we're still in tune with the consumer [and] delivering products that are going to meet those occasions [they’re] looking for, but at the same time, keeping our relationships at a strong level with our retailers, because ultimately that partnership is key to enable us to work as a functioning business across the supply chain.”

Newlands said it is also very important to identify the key trends within the market and “then how we overlay them into key products, whether targeting occasions or whether it’s a specific brand that we create a [licensed] partnership with, or specifically around wellbeing [and a] more healthier living way.”

Regarding brand licensing, Finsbury has recently extended its 20-year partnership with chocolatier Thorntons. The company’s portfolio of licences also includes well-known global brands, such as Disney, Warner Bros, Nickelodeon, Hasbro, Mattel, Nintendo and Xbox, Mars, Mary Berry and Diageo.

“I think we’ve got a real good balance of own label and branded, and that allows us to drive that real point a difference and be unique to a customer base, where we can bring that element of indulgence to the category, right from snacking, right across the celebration cake [category] to more adult brands like [the Diageo project] with the Bailey’s brand.”

We chatted to Newlands to find out how the manufacturer of own-label products and licensee cake ranges has adapted to overcome the current challenges and continue to deliver outstanding performance.

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