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Your cut-out-and-keep guide to top employers. 53. William Jackson

In a nutshell: A family-run business operating across the ready meals sector and until recently the retail sector. Diversity has always been the keystone of this business, as it also owns the Ferguson Fawsitt Arms pub at Walkington, near Beverly.

History: While the Great Exhibition of 1851 was in full swing at the Crystal Palace, William Jackson was opening his own, albeit less grand, venture in the form of a small grocery and tea merchant in Hull. The business remained fairly static until 1888 when William's son George joined the firm, and quickly expanded the Jacksons grocery business and set up a bakery company. The grocery business continued to grow until August this year when the company sold all its Jacksons stores to Sainsbury. However, its bakery division remains, and it now also owns ready meal manufacturer Tryton Foods and Oriental food company Kwoks. Joint md Christopher Oughtred is the great grandson of William Jackson.

Brands you'd recognise: While you probably won't see any Kwoks-branded products, as the company is mainly an own-label supplier to Asda, you can't have failed to have noticed Tryton Foods' burgeoning Aunt Bessie's brand. Tryton initially started out producing Yorkshire puddings for Butlins at 'Skeggie', but the Aunt Bessie's name now adorns stuffings, ready meals, pies, puddings and pancakes.

The strategy: The disposal of its Jacksons stores highlights the company's wish to give its undivided attention to manufacture. And more acquisitions could be on the cards.

Where you'd work: It's glamour all the way here. Choose from two Tryton Foods plants, its flagship bakery or its head office -- all in Hull -- or Kwoks' purpose-built factory at Grimsby.

Do say at interview: Hey you're good (last month Tryton Foods won the frozen foods category at this year's Food Manufacture Excellence Awards).

Don't say at interview: These Yorkshires aren't how mum makes them (Tryton is very proud of its Yorkshire puddings, so it's best not to upset it.)

Contact: 01482 224131,

Related topics: People & Skills

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