Silbury’s big fat growth opportunity

By Graham Holter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Fat

Silbury’s big fat growth opportunity
Silbury’s oils and fats division could become as important to the company as its tomatoes business, its directors say.

The Warwick-based company has appointed Gary Lewis as its new director for oils and fats, with a brief to expand the UK business through shrewder buying and improved customer service.

Lewis, formerly of Cargill, Nortech and New Britain Palm Oil, is the current chair of the National Edible Oils Distributors Association (NEODA)

Silbury’s brands include Sil-Cream, Sil-Fry and Sil-Palm, which are produced for the company by third-party refiners in the UK. The company also distributes Brozzi lard, Unimelt dripping and marine oils from Berg Lipid Tech.

Lewis, who starts his new role on July 4, told that oils and fats contribute between 30% and 40% of Silbury’s turnover of £30m, while tomatoes account for around 50%.

“They ​[Silbury] want the oils side to be just as significant,” ​he said. “The key is how you buy and when you buy. Because it’s a commodity, the markets are extremely volatile.”

Cost reductions

Lewis said it was possible that the Silbury range could be extended. “Clearly there are lots of areas we can expand in, and if we can be more cost-effective we can push that through, and add more products to the portfolio,” ​he said.

“The food industry is not immune from the recession and a lot of people are looking for cost reductions.”

Silbury was well placed to help change the public perception of palm oil, Lewis added, as it was among the first suppliers to take a more environmentally friendly approach to sourcing.

“We see it as a real opportunity to get a positive message through and say to people you can buy palm oil sustainably and efficiently,”​ he said.

Founded in 1986, Silbury employs 15 staff and supplies food brands such as Dr Oetker, New Covent Garden, Northern Foods, Patak’s, Pizza Hut and Premier Foods.

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