Acquisitions led to growth and jobs at Genius Foods

By Laurence Gibbons

- Last updated on GMT

Genius has secured a listing to 800 Tesco stores following its acquisition of two production sites last year
Genius has secured a listing to 800 Tesco stores following its acquisition of two production sites last year

Related tags Pastry United arab emirates

Gluten-free food manufacturer Genius Foods has grown its product category by 25%, created 400 jobs and secured two “milestone” contracts, following its acquisition of two Finsbury Food Group production facilities last year.

Cusheiri revealed to that Genius would soon launch into another “sizable retailer”​ in Europe and one new European country.

Genius launched in the United Arab Emirates at the start of 2014. The brand is now available in Australia, Spain, Holland and North America.

The firm had spent millions on the development of the Livwell and United Central Bakery production sites in Hull and Bathgate, West Lothian, following the firm’s £21M acquisition of the companies, Cusheiri said.

“In Hull we have invested into the fabric of the business and planned for more equipment to help create a longer life for our products. So far we have spent just shy of £1M.

“Gluten-free bakery products are very challenging to make, especially the ones that need to rise. In Bathgate we have invested a total of £1.3M into gluten-free bread production equipment to drive up quality.”

Continuous improvement and expansion

Genius will continue to invest into production and packaging facilities as part of its continuous improvement and innovation and retail and global expansion strategy, Cusheiri added.

“International development is strong and the pipeline is filling, but there is still much more to do. We are only just scratching the surface in gluten-free bakery products,” ​she added.

Since the acquisition in February last year, Genius has seen its workforce grown by 400.

“Since the acquisition, we have gone from a workforce of 20 to 420,” ​Cusheiri said. We have recruited permanent employees in the bakeries, which was previously a lot of temporary workers. The way we operate and the structure of the business has changed dramatically.”

The investments have enabled Genius to develop own-label products for retailers, create a range of new products and form partnerships with other manufacturers.

It now produces gluten-free pastry at its Bathgate bakery, which it supplies to Yorskshire-based pie producer Denby Dale to supply a range of gluten and dairy free frozen pies for Asda.

“From a product perspective the Genius brand is 25% up on last year. Bread is our rock, accounting for 50% of the business, but we are looking at new markets,”​ Cusheiri said.

The Genius with Denby Dale Steak & Ale Pies went on sale in 115 Asda stores and the Genius with Denby Dale Chicken Pies was launched into 261 stores on February 1.

Asda will stock Genius’ seeded loaf in 540 stores, compared to its current 40 stores, from February 15. Genius’ croissant and pain au chocolate will go into 103 stores and 42 stores respectively on the same date.

The brand’s 535g white and 535g brown bread will go into 104 stores and its seeded rolls will go into 250 stores, compared to its limited current availability in 46 stores. Genius’ shortcrust and puff pastry is now available in 271 Asda stores.

Cusheiri said new product development and getting the right brand offering for the retailer was the key to securing the contract with Asda.

800 Tesco stores

Meanwhile, Genius also announced a contract to supply its fruit loaf in 800 Tesco stores, following a successful trial period at selected stores. understands that a delisting of rival brands played a part in Genius’ new contract.

Although, Cusheiri could not confirm this, she said: “That happens all the time as part of range review cycles. The retailer would look at what’s selling and not selling.”

Meanwhile, to view the latest jobs in food and drink manufacturing, visit FoodManJobs.

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