William Jackson plans to double turnover to £600M

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Soutar: ‘We’re looking at potential options for a fifth subsidiary’
Soutar: ‘We’re looking at potential options for a fifth subsidiary’

Related tags Food

William Jackson Food Group (WJFG), the food manufacturing parent to brands such as Aunt Bessie’s frozen foods and organic grocery business Abel & Cole, plans to double turnover to £600M over the next five years and is looking to acquire a fifth subsidiary.

The news emerged today (December 15) as WJFG, which is run as a portfolio of four food businesses in different, yet complementary market areas, revealed a three-year accelerated growth period, with sales revenues expected to top £300M this financial year.

Since 2012 WJFG has witnessed a growth rate of 54%, which it claimed was far better than the food manufacturing sector as a whole. Group revenues had increased by 200% since chief executive Norman Soutar joined the business in 2006.

Revenues increased by 200%

Looking ahead to 2016, the family-owned company, which employs over 2,000 people across the UK, planned to mark its 165th year in business by strengthening the position and performance of its subsidiary brands even further.

“The next five years will be critical for us as a parent brand, as we seek to enhance our portfolio of independent businesses and double sales figures,”​ said Soutar. “By investing our time and energy into developing the autonomous strength of our subsidiaries, we’re confident our collective profile will continue to flourish.”

Founded in 1851 by Yorkshire farmer’s son William Jackson, what was originally a shop supplying groceries and tea then expanded to offer baked goods over 30 years later. The current joint owners represent the fifth and sixth generation of the family.

Jackson’s Bakery

As well as Aunt Bessie’s, WJFG also owns sandwich bread producer Jackson’s Bakery, fresh vegetable specialist MyFresh and organic grocer Abel & Cole – the newest addition to the group, which was added in 2012.

Since joining the group, Abel & Cole has seen double digit growth every year and carved out a new category in food home delivery.

“The performance levels of our subsidiaries have never been better, thanks to the talented people we have employed and empowered to develop and grow their businesses over the years,”​ said Soutar. “To continue on this growth trajectory, we’re looking at potential options for a fifth subsidiary to expand our diverse yet complementary offering, giving customers a new choice that upholds the quality and popularity expected of WJFG brands.”

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