In Greater Birmingham, food and drink is the 3rd largest manufacturing industry in terms of employment and job growth more than 2,000 net new jobs have been created since 2009, representing growth of some 32%.
Expansion of the sector has primarily been an organic process underpinned by a thriving cluster of SMEs and micro businesses. These firms tend to focus on smaller scale production for local or niche markets and on developing products in new areas of the market – notably the production/processing of meat and poultry products, and Halal products in particular, and the production of ethnic and other specialist food products.
The region’s thriving network of wholesalers, largely centred on the wholesale market – this is one of a handful of large ‘primary’ wholesale markets across the UK, which serves the whole of the Greater Birmingham and is home to numerous SMEs and micro businesses. As a result, the skills profile of job vacancies in Greater Birmingham is a little different to that elsewhere, with a higher proportion of opportunities in skilled and plant and machinery operatives.
It is forecasted that more than £314 million worth of additional GVA will be generated by firms in Greater Birmingham over the next decade and nearly £1 billion worth of additional GVA will be generated across the GBS LEP area. Nearly 6,000 net new jobs will be created between now and 2025 in Greater Birmingham and more than 9,000 net new jobs will be created in the GBS LEP area.
Cadbury, a multinational confectionery company, was established almost 200 years ago in Birmingham in 1824 and is now the second largest confectionery brand in the world.
Founded by John Cadbury, who opened a grocers shop in 93 Bull Street, Birmingham, the manufacturing business was subsequently born in 1831 when he decided to start producing on a commercial scale and bought a four storey warehouse in nearby Crooked Lane. His vision was shared by his brother Richard, and they began searching for a very special site for their new factory. Bournville, in Birmingham, was chosen.
Some of the world’s most iconic names in chocolate were and still are produced here, including the Cadbury Dairy Milk bar. Cadbury became part of the Mondelēz International family in 2010, and in 2012 a new global R&D centre opened in Bournville, Birmingham as part of a £200 million investment programme in the UK.
The company has continued to invest in the region to take advantage of the wealth of talent and skills available, and now employs some 4,000 people. This has allowed Cadbury to create a ‘Centre of Excellence’ that includes new innovation laboratories, a test plant facility and a collaboration kitchen to put new ideas to the test.
Louise Stigant, Managing Director UK, commented:
“Cadbury is intrinsically associated with the Birmingham area – a region renowned for innovation and creativity, and home to one of the UK’s most unique culinary hotspots. Testament to our confidence in the region, over £75 million has been invested in Bournville, Birmingham, home of Cadbury, improving productivity levels and safeguarding Bournville for the next generation.
“The Cadbury brand continues to grow as the city flourishes. An ideal backdrop for both Cadbury and Mondelēz International, Birmingham is well-placed geographically with excellent transport links across the rest of the country and internationally”.
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Birmingham social enterprise company Miss Macaroon, which has established itself as a firm favourite online selling high end French delicacies to the likes of fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld and social giants Facebook and Instagram, has chosen Birmingham to open its first shop – selling 30 flavours of delicious macaroons.
Patisserie Miss Macaroon is headquartered in Greater Birmingham, creating premium hand-made gluten-free French macaroons for major clients including Virgin, Facebook, Instagram, Karl Lagerfeld, Lloyds Bank and Google.
Its macaroons can be produced for corporate, wedding, and wholesale customers, to the public online and in its Great Western Arcade store in the heart of Birmingham city centre. Miss Macaroon is the only patisserie in the world to be able to Pantone match macaroons exactly to a brand or wedding colours.
Miss Macaroon is also a social enterprise, helping to provide employment opportunities and training programmes for young people aged between 18 to 35. The training scheme, Macaroons that Make A Difference (MacsMAD), is aimed at some of the most socially disadvantaged young people.
Owner and founder Rosie Ginday, who trained as a high-end pastry chef at University College Birmingham and went on to work for Michelin starred chef Glynn Purnell, set up Miss Macaroon in 2011.
Whilst plans to expand nationally are on the horizon, Rosie wants Birmingham to remain as Miss Macaroon’s headquarters.
“The social enterprise community here is absolutely amazing,” raves Ginday. She explains how the advice and connections other social entrepreneurs based in the city have being willing to share has been invaluable. “You don’t get that kind of openness in some industries and locations, but I think in Birmingham’s start-up community you do,” she says.
“Birmingham is also becoming a leading destination for independent food and drink businesses. From global brands like Cadbury, to quirky start-ups taking the world by storm, the city has a fantastic, growing foodie ecosystem”.
Among the support on offer in Birmingham that Ginday highlights is the Initiative for Social Entrepreneurs (iSE) organisation and the annual social enterprise city drive, which takes place to raise awareness about social enterprise.
Birmingham has topped the list as the UK’s most entrepreneurial city outside London for five consecutive years. A total of 29,581 businesses were founded in the city across 2015 and 2016 according to the Start Up Loans Company and the Centre for Entrepreneurs.
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1000 Trades is an independent neighbourhood bar and kitchen in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham. It has brought new life to a listed building, celebrating and championing all forms of craft.
The Jewellery Quarter is an integral part of the city’s cultural offering. 1000 Trades is joined by a number of other restaurants and cafés, which contribute to Birmingham’s ranking as the UK’s number one regional city for quality of life, according to Mercer.
The dedication to crafts span every aspect of the business – from the beer and natural wine through to kitchen residencies by food entrepreneurs.
The Guardian describes 1000 Trades as “an unusually interesting watering hole”. John Stapleton, Co-Founder and General Manager of 1000 Trades, commented:
“We feel there is unfulfilled potential in Birmingham and that we can assist the city in realising this by bringing something different.”
Birmingham is the youngest city in Europe, with under 25s accounting for 40% of its population. This youth, diversity and innovative spirit fuels creativity. 1000 Trades reflects this creative spirit, with its soundtrack produced in partnership with Birmingham’s music community, and the artwork of local artists showcased throughout the bar.
John, who moved from London to Birmingham in order to set up the bar, added:
“We wanted a bar that combines a reverence for heritage with cutting edge contemporary – Birmingham is perfect for this. It has a prouder history and a brighter future than is often realised. Its past involves being ‘the city of one thousand trades’; and the best of Birmingham today recovers the same pioneering spirit of innovation that the city then embodied.
“Working with other local businesses and communities is important for us. We have space available for community and private events and we are particularly keen to support activities consistent with our craft philosophy.
“The point of the bar is to be a platform to this spirit in as many different ways as possible. We couldn’t have opened a bar called 1000 Trades anywhere else but Birmingham.”
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Katjes Magic Candy Factory, the German company behind the world’s first 3D printer for candy, launched in Birmingham’s creative quarter, within the Custard Factory. Katjes Magic Candy Factory joins a host of other innovative businesses in the area.
Customers can choose to 3D print a logo, selfie, message or 3D shape in one of eight vegan flavours.
The Magical Design application allows anyone to create shapes, write messages and even draw their own custom candies and watch them come to life before their eyes in less than five minutes.
Katjes Magic Candy Factory currently employs six staff, and a further three interns have recently been recruited from Aston University.
Business Birmingham has helped to profile Katjes Magic Candy Factory as new business in the city, supporting with a range of PR and marketing activity. Katjes Magic Candy Factory was introduced to key local contacts who have helped to facilitate the exportation of products.
As Katjes Magic Candy Factory takes interns from local universities, the company has benefitted from the rich, diverse and sustainable talent pool. The region has a high calibre graduate skills-base with 20 leading universities within a one hour drive.
Caitlin Richards, brand manager at Katjes Magic Candy Factory, commented:
“We believe Birmingham is becoming the creative and tech capital of the UK and is geographically a great location with transport links and many international flights from the airport.”
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Established in the Greater Birmingham region in 1972, East End Foods Plc has grown into one of the UK’s leading Asian food specialists with an annual turnover in excess of £180 million. With the surge of immigration in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the enterprising Wouhra brothers spotted a gap in the market with the growing demand and lack of availability for ethnic foods. They opened a small store in Wolverhampton in the Black Country stocking raw ingredients and dried goods. As demand grew, they moved to two further sites in the area, before moving to Birmingham in the 1970’s, setting up in Highgate, Birmingham supplying independent retailers, family owned stores and a growing number of Indian restaurants. After the closure of the old HP Sauce site in 2007 in Aston, Birmingham, East End Foods purchased it and built a new cash and carry facility.
Today with the product range containing over 30,000 lines to over 3,500 retailers regionally and many more nationally, East End Foods not only caters for Greater Birmingham’s diverse ethnic population, but is now one of the largest importers of ethnic foods in the UK. It currently operates out of 600,000 sq feet of space across 4 depots in Birmingham and the Black Country and is one of the only companies in the UK to process, blend, and grind their products in the UK.
Established in 2012 Brunei Halal is a high value operation providing product development and testing, market research alongside procedures and logistics in line with the requirements of major multiples and major buyers. The company has ambitions to become the market leader within the fragmented halal market.