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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

Cadbury, a multinational confectionery company, was established almost 200 years ago in Birmingham in 1824 and is now the second largest confectionary 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.

The rest, as they say, is history and some of the world’s most iconic names in chocolate were and still are produced here, including the Dairy Milk bar. Cadbury became part of Mondeléz International family on the 2nd February 2010, and in 2012 a new global R&D centre opened in Bournville, Birmingham as part of a £17 million investment in the UK.

The company chose to stay in the region to take advantage of the wealth of talent and skills available; creating a ‘Centre of Excellence’ that includes new innovation laboratories, a test plant facility and a collaboration kitchen to put new ideas to the test.

The Cadbury factory in Bournville, Birmingham, West Midlands, England.
The Cadbury factory in Bournville, Birmingham, West Midlands, England.

East End Foods

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.

Brunei Halal

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.

Cleone

Cleone Foods produces and distribute Jamaican patties under its registered trademark Island Delight branding. In existence since 1989, the company employs 50 people and has a turnover just short of £3 million. The key driver of growth has been winning contracts with supermarkets – Cleone Foods supplies the UK’s major supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Morrison’s and Co-Op and supplies approximately 70% of all the patties made in the UK. Cleone is looking to further expand the business over the next 3 years, generating £1 million of additional turnover and is seeking to recruit an additional 15 people to their team of workers.

“Birmingham is a great location for our business, particularly for transport links. With access to all major conurbations within two hours, we can deliver anywhere within three hours”

Access to labour is also a major benefit for Cleone Foods as the company is located on a main bus route with train stations at a suitable distance. Local labour is well skilled, with four major universities, and several local and specialist colleges such as the University College Birmingham providing specialist courses in food and drink studies and the National Skills Academy providing excellent candidates across all disciplines.

The supply chain is well resourced, with ingredient, packaging and component suppliers all locally based, as well as service providers, and technical and engineering support easily available within the local area.

Allied Bakeries

Allied Bakeries is the UK’s second largest bakery supplier and owner of leading bread brand Kingsmill. In 2014 the company invested £25m investment into its Greater Birmingham bakery in West Bromwich. The investment has supported extensive refurbishment of the bread plant to create an innovative, modern and even more efficient bakery and marks one of the final projects of the organisation’s £210m nation-wide capital expenditure programme.  The plant is benefitting from a new building, as well as the latest ingredient handling technology and electrical and mechanical improvements, delivering increased productivity and greater energy efficiency.

Seafresh

Established in 2011 the organisation is comprised of two sites within the region, Sea Farms Limited and Blue Earth Foods Limited, and employs 350 full time staff. Blue Earth Foods Limited is a chilled seafood supplier to large retailers such as Marks and Spencer’s, Tesco and Sainsbury’s whereas Sea Farms Limited supplies frozen products to the retail trade and to other regional businesses such as Two Sisters Group.

Since the organisation was established sales have grown at a rate of 25% to 30% a year. Within 3 years production has soared from 35 packs in the first week of production, to half a million packs a week in 2014.  Seafresh is currently transforming an existing building into another production site and have planning permission for further expansion.

“This location is fantastic as we’re in the middle of the country with great access to all our customers and suppliers. It gives an advantage over many of our competitors who are based in Scotland. We also have easy access to a good workforce and are now one of the biggest employers locally.” 2 Sisters Food Group

2 Sisters Food Group has 49 manufacturing sites in the UK and Ireland, Holland and Poland. The group employs around 24,000 people and annual sales are now over £3 billion following the acquisitions of Northern Foods and Brookes Avana in 2011 and the Vion Poultry and Red Meat Businesses in 2013.

Midland Food Group

Midland Food group employs 250 staff and has sales in excess of £50 million.  Supplying over 3,500 different products to over 2,500 individual customers from our two sites; Willenhall in the West Midlands and Basingstoke in the South. The company’s BRC accredited pie factory has the capability of producing 16,000 pies every day, making us one of the largest specialist pie producers in the UK.

KTC Edibles

Britain’s largest private manufacturer and distributor of oils and fats for the cooking industry supplying over 250 million litres a year of high quality cooking oils and fats to the food industry. KTC imports, packs and distribute a wide array of ethnic and mainstream food products to manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers throughout the United Kingdom and the rest of the world.

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