Brands boost fortunes for Real Good Food Company

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

Whitworth sugar products had enjoyed 'tremendous progress', said boss Pieter Totté
Whitworth sugar products had enjoyed 'tremendous progress', said boss Pieter Totté

Related tags Real good food Good food company Baking

An increasing focus on brands and a revamped management structure have been pinpointed as two reasons why profits at the Real Good Food Company (RGFC) rose by 24% to £10.5M this year.

The food group owns Napier Brown, Europe’s largest non-refining sugar distributor, bakery ingredient brands Renshaw and R&W Scott, Garrett Ingredients, which supplies goods to the dairy sector and Haydens Bakery, which manufactures patisserie and desserts.

Speaking at the firm’s AGM in London this week, RGFD chairman Pieter Totté said the group – which has traditionally been an own-label producer – now ran each business as a “distinct unit”​ and had embarked on a “commercially-driven”​ strategy.

Key to this, he told shareholders, was strengthening the firm’s brands, many of which had further scope for developments.

Napier Brown’s Whitworth sugar products had enjoyed “tremendous progress”, ​said Totté, with sales soaring from £2M to £70M in two years.

Its Renshaw baking products, such as ready-to-roll icing, were also primed for “sustainable growth”,​ with both outfits benefitting from the increasing popularity of home-baking on the back of TV shows such as the Great British Bake Off​.

Major multiples

The R&W Scott jams and sauces brand – formerly a subsidiary of Renshaw – is now a stand-alone business unit and is making inroads into the major multiples, said Totté, who highlighted a significant listing in Tesco’s Scottish stores which was secured last month.

However, it is arguably the Haydens Bakery operation which has witnessed the biggest turnaround in fortunes.

Traditionally the bakery relied on Waitrose for 90% of its orders with Marks & Spencer accounting for the rest. But in the past year it has branched out into foodservice by clinching a deal with Costa while also launching five ranges in Morrison.

“We are already discussing the potential for more business with Morrison which will bring in good volume,”​ added Totté.

RGFD finance director Mike McDonagh added that the group had reduced net debt by 13% to £25M.

500,000Mt of sugar

Peter Hough, sugar sourcing director at Napier Brown, outlined progress of a new sugar handling hub at Immingham which will supply the 500,000Mt of sugar used by food manufacturers across the M62 corridor.

Shareholders later approved the election to the board of Jacques d’Unieville from sugar refiner Omnicane. The link up will provide RGFD with access to Omnicane’s operations in East Africa and Mauritius, the products of which have no import duties.

Looking ahead, Totté said the outlook for the business was positive and he hoped to be in a position to return dividends to shareholders “sooner rather than later”.

“Trading performance for the first half of the year has been in line with the board’s expectations, with year-on-year trends reflecting the level of planned investment.

“Underpinning all of this, I am continuing to drive the businesses to be more market-led, investing further in sales and marketing management to help realize the growth opportunities faster and more effectively,”​ he added.

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