Welsh Hills Bakery welcomes Cabinet Secretary
We have welcomed Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, to our Aberdare factory.
The visit was part of our diamond jubilee celebrations marking 60 years since founders, Ernest Rule and wife Ruby, began their baking venture.
Now, we are one of the leading dedicated free from factory’s in the UK, turning over £5million per annum, and distributing our Lovemore Free From Foods range of cakes and biscuits, as well as own brand products, to major retailers all over the world.
Over the years, we have produced goods for Harrods, Selfridges, Cottage Delight and Park hampers, and now can count Tesco, Asda, Waitrose, Co-op, Holland and Barrett and the NHS as our customers. Earlier this year, we secured a contract with Morrisons to supply its gluten and dairy free products to up to 486 stores across the UK in a deal potentially worth £250,000.
Managing Director, Peter Douglass, showed Ms. Griffiths AM around the factory, which has been home to Welsh Hills Bakery since 1986 and recently saw an investment of £100,000 in new machinery.
The Cabinet Secretary said: “Our food and drink sector is one of our economic success stories and we are committed to supporting the industry to build on its achievements. It is always encouraging to visit a Welsh success story and Welsh Hills Bakery is an excellent example of our ambitious vision for the sector. They have recognised and capitalised on a specialist market and are reaping the benefits while flying the flag for Welsh produce around the world.”
Peter, who is Ernest and Ruby’s son-in-law, said: “It was a pleasure to show Ms. Griffiths around our factory and explain exactly how we operate a total free from site.
“People think it is simply a case of swapping standard wheat flour with rice flour, but the change in flour is only the initial step on the road to producing a gluten free product. The skill required for the production of a successful product relies upon the blend of ingredients which assist the flour in mimicking the action of the wheat flour. Plus there are factors such as texture, taste and life expectancy of the end product which can result in using a variety of different ingredients to achieve the end result.
“There’s also significant stringent standards set by the industry and the compliance to which all reputable manufacturers must adhere.”
Welsh Hills represents an impressive 12% of the UK gluten-free cakes and desserts market, with the overall UK free from foods market being valued at £532million.
Talking about the future of the company and the industry, Peter said: “People are certainly becoming more conscious of their food, its ingredients and its manufacture and the growing trend for ‘going gluten free’ through choice rather than necessity is showing no signs of slowing. I believe there is huge scope for us to grow even further, in particular our export trade. As a company, we’re extremely optimistic about what the future holds and are looking forward to the next 60 years!”