Frank Dale Foods expects sales to hit £3.5m this December compared with £1.9m in 2009, and marketing manager Matt Lawley told FoodManufacture.co.uk that the firm's success is due to rising demand for “high quality, hand finished, hand decorated” miniature party food and desserts.
He said the company's entry into the cash-and-carry sector at the end of 2009 had also boosted sales, as had the fact that the industry had “perhaps deskilled a little, with contract caterers and hotels bringing in less experienced pastry chefs” during the recession; at the same time chefs are looking for time-saving measures by buying-in high quality ‘finger food'.
New canapé line
To meet rising demand Lawley said that Frank Dale has invested around £200,000 in new kit this year, including a new canapé-filling line that is due to be delivered within the next fortnight, which will raise production from 3,000 units per hour to 12,000.
The firm currently produces around 200,000 canapes during a normal working week, with 350,000 turned-out during peak periods such as Christmas.
New contracts could also mean new jobs, said Lawley: “At the rate we’re growing we will need new staff soon, and although we are looking to automate as many processes as possible, we want to carry on hand finishing, which is really important for clients.”
Frank Dale Foods manufacturers around 100 different varieties of canapé, mini quiches and other miniature savoury and party food for wholesalers such as Costco, Makro and Booker, in addition to catering firms such as Brakes and Cater Force.