Fray Bentos production starts at Baxters' site

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

Moveable feast: Fray Bentos pie production was moved 500 miles
Moveable feast: Fray Bentos pie production was moved 500 miles

Related tags: Fray bentos, Pickling, Baxters

Scottish manufacturer Baxters has begun production of Fray Bentos pies at its Fochabers plant – and has reinforced its global focus by snapping up another Australian food manufacturer.

Baxters agreed to buy Fray Bentos from Princes Foods in November 2011. The deal meant that the production line was "lifted and shifted​" from Long Sutton in Lincolnshire to the Scottish Highlands.

Installation was completed at the end of last year and production now stands at 67,000 tinned pies a week a number the firm expects to double in the coming months.

Global acquisition drive

Meanwhile, the family-owned firm best known for its soups and sauces is continuing with a global acquisition drive that aims to broaden its product offerings and reduce reliance on single markets.

In early March it was announced that Baxters had bought Australian business Jensen's Choice Foods an organic sauce specialist for an undisclosed sum.

Baxters has targeted international growth over the past few years, having previously bought Australian sauces and marinated vegetable producer Sole Mio in 2009 and added Andrews Food Distributors the following year. It also purchased the Alymer soup brand in Canada and a pickling operation in Poland.

Baxters' global operations director John Campbell told Food Manufacture​ the international strategy was reaping rewards.

'We are international'

"Our business philosophy is that we are international and not too reliant on just one market. There is no doubt that the UK market has been very difficult for everyone over the last four to five years. However, we've been doing well and that is because we have a good spread​ [of products and brands],"​ said Campbell. "Fray Bentos is a very important part of that. We moved very quickly to get it when it came on the market."

Baxters has also bought a vinegar plant in Burntwood, Staffordshire, from Japanese company Nakano.

Nakano agreed to sell the manufacturing facility, which employs 58 people, to alleviate competition concerns following its £41M acquisition of the vinegar and pickles business from Premier Foods in June last year.

As a result of the deal with Baxters, the Office of Fair Trading has decided not to refer the Nakano and Premier Foods deal to the Competition Commission.

Read the feature​ on how Baxters moved Fray Bentos production from eastern England to northern Scotland.

Don't miss our exclusive podcast​ on how Fray Bentos minimised the disruption of their mammoth move. 

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