The explosion in demand for wheat-free products has helped a bakery double its workforce to more than 50 staff in less than a year.
The Village Bakery’s invested £500,000 in the former gluten-free bakery on Wrexham Industrial Estate to cater for the expansion.
They now employ a total of more than 400 people in their three bakeries in the Wrexham area.
The response to their new wheat-free range has been “fantastic” and they are already supplying several big name UK retailers.
The original gluten free bakery opened in 2008 with the help of a grant from the Welsh Government but the contract with the Switzerland Hero Group ran out at the end of last June.
The family run firm seized on the opportunity to expand into the rapidly-growing wheat-free market and it’s proving to be a massive success.
The news delighted Ken Skates, the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure and the AM for Clwyd South, during a visit to the Village Bakery.
He said: “What stands out at the Village Bakery is a commitment to reinvesting profits into the facility and to modernising production techniques and staying ahead of all the competition. That way the company continues to modernise, it continues to innovate and it continues to employ more people.
“We’re delighted that the Welsh Government was able to play a part in the success story of Village Bakery and we are working to remain as enthusiastic partners of what is one of the most important employers in the Wrexham area.
“I would encourage all businesses to take a look at the story of the Village Bakery and the commitment that the family have in reinvesting in the workforce and in innovation and product development.
“A key demand on any business is to break into new markets, to constantly innovate, to constantly seek out and exploit new opportunities and that’s what the Village Bakery is so very good at doing with their wheat-free bakery being a perfect example.”
Project director Christien Jones was delighted to welcome Mr Skates to the Village Bakery so they could explain the progress being made in increasing production at their wheat-free bakery.
He said: “We finished with a long-standing customer last summer and we have replaced that business and more with UK retailers.
“As result, the workforce has gone up from 27 to more than 50, so that’s almost a 100 per cent increase of permanent jobs which is fantastic.
“We’re busier now than we have ever been and we’ve launched a whole variety of new free from products, so the future is bright.
“There has been an explosion in demand in the free-from market, it’s on a steep growth curve.
“People are self-diagnosing and making lifestyle choices to try free from products, and I think free from has changed over the last 10 years.
It’s now not just a commodity you eat when you have a medical condition – it’s healthy lifestyle choice.
“We’ve developed a whole range for recipes and products and the importance of how they taste is absolutely paramount.
“We treat it like we would any other bakery product with the advantage of its free from qualities so you don’t have to sacrifice taste at all.
“As a result, we’re increasing sales week on week, the distribution is getting wider and more consumers are trying the product, so it’s fantastic news.”