Tripp has increased production from four to six days a week since he took the helm of the Manchester-based company. He now plans to combine the Taylor Road site with an older factory nearby by September, to gear up for Christmas. That would boost weekly production of 1.1M units by 40%. The transformed factory would house two main product lines and two further value added slicing and snacking lines.
Soreen's sales rose 19% to £27.6M on volume up 16.3% in the 52 weeks to March 21, according to Kantar World Panel. Sales of low-fat Fruity Five launched in October were performing strongly, said Tripp, who is concentrating short-term NPD on "individual portion solutions" in healthy snacking.
Having clinched a deal to supply 800 Woolworths stores in Australia with Fruity Five, which contains five types of fruit, and sliced Soreen, the firm was negotiating with German retailers, said Tripp. "We start supplying later this year when we have capacity." He said the UK expat community, for example in Spain and France, would be a core export focus.
Soreen is more than a year into a three-year plan part of a five-year transformation strategy since it was taken over in 2007. It was bought along with its former owner Inter Link Foods, which had been struggling financially. Soreen is now 40% owned by the McCambridge Group family and management and 60% owned by Barclays, which is funding much of its development.
Phase one of Tripp's plan a £2M refurbishment of the Taylor Road site, boosting capacity by 25% is complete. Lean manufacturing principles have been applied to site layout. A new mixing area, new ingredient handling and ventilation systems and a product testing laboratory had been installed, he said. "Apart from the oven, nothing else is the same as when I joined."