Warburtons: first food manufacturer in top firms list

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Warburtons is the first food manufacturer to make the top companies list
Warburtons is the first food manufacturer to make the top companies list

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Warburtons, Britain’s largest bakery brand, is the first food manufacturer to make The Sunday Times’ Top 25 Best Big Companies list.

The survey, which started in 2001, analyses the views of employees on eight key areas including leadership and personal growth, while getting opinions about their bosses, working conditions and employer values. 

This is the first year that Warburtons has entered the category, which covered employers with more than 3,000 staff. Warburtons came in at 24 but other food businesses were scarce with McDonald’s at eight and Iceland Foods at 11.

More than 63% of Warburtons employees took part in the survey. Of those polled, 75% were proud to work for the firm, 71% were clear about what was expected of them while 80% believed they could make a valuable contribution to its success.

Excited about Warburtons’ future

Staff were excited about Warburtons’ future (66%) and would not leave tomorrow to work anywhere else (63%).

The bakery brand employed 4,500 people across 26 bakery sites. It is owned by the fifth generation of Warburtons, cousins, Jonathan, Ross and Brett.

The manufacturer’s chairman Jonathan Warburton said: “We’re incredibly proud to be recognised as a best place to work and to be the only food manufacturer to secure a place on the Top 25 list for Big Companies.”

He added: “The manufacturing and distribution environment is not an easy industry to work in or to recruit for. The fact that it is our people – who run our business every day – have said we are a best place to work makes the list even more meaningful for us – there couldn’t be a better accolade.”

He said the company would continue to enter and has “big ambitions” ​to climb to the top slot.

The Sunday Times​ list has three additional categories covering the 100 Best Companies to Work for in the mid-size category (250–3,000 employees), 100 Best Small Companies to Work For (50–250 staff) and 100 Best Not-for-Profit Organisations.

Ella’s Kitchen

Other food business in the small company category included new entrants Ella’s Kitchen, the organic baby food brand, at 26, while Pact Coffee, the coffee delivery company, hit the number 84 spot.

In the midsize category Wallingford-based contract caterer Connect Catering were at number eight, while Kent-based Cook, the frozen food meals supplier, were 28.

A total of 925 firms registered to take part in this year’s Sunday Times ​surveys and 241,361 people filled out questionnaires.

Best Big Company was Inchape, the Oxfordshire-based car dealer, followed by prestige car company Sytner Group and Nationwide Building Society.

Any business wishing to apply for next year's list can do so at the sign-up page​.

All four of this year's lists can be viewed here​.

The Sunday Times Best Companies

Food firms on the list

  • Warburtons
  • Ella’s Kitchen
  • Pact Coffee
  • Connect Catering
  • Cook

Top three Best Big Companies

  1. Inchape, Oxfordshire-based car dealer
  2. Sytner Group, prestige car company
  3. Nationwide Building Society

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