Finsbury Food Group turns cake factory nut-free

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

The revamped factory offers additional reassurance for consumers scouring allergen labelling for 'nut-free' tags
The revamped factory offers additional reassurance for consumers scouring allergen labelling for 'nut-free' tags

Related tags Bakery Ingredients & nutrition Food safety Npd

Finsbury Food Group, the cake manufacturer supplying supermarkets including Tesco and Sainsbury's, has turned its Hamilton Celebration Cake factory in Scotland into a nut-free site, offering consumers additional reassurances regarding allergen labelling.

It said the move followed recent research highlighting the growing number of people developing nut allergies. 

From this month (July 2020), cakes produced at Finsbury’s Hamilton Celebration Cake site will be manufactured completely nut-free, both in terms of product ingredients and preparation space. 

Finsbury said it had undertaken a large-scale renovation of its celebration cake site to make the changes. This also involved the introduction of new processes, systems and training. The group said it would also be launching a range of new nut-free products, which would be easily identifiable with its new, clear ‘nut-free’ labels on packaging. 

Catherine Swinburne, head of technical, Lightbody at the Hamilton site, said: “As the UK’s number one licensed branded celebration cake manufacturer, we felt it was important for us to take a lead on a growing issue. This was a challenging project and involved a lot of work from across the business. However, we firmly believe in always doing what is right for our customers, not what is always easy. 

“We’ve worked hard including establishing completely new processes, systems and training to make this change possible and bring consumers and our retail customers the reassurance that they can now purchase a huge range of cakes from a nut-free environment.”  

Nut allergies​ 

Daryl Newlands, marketing manager at Finsbury Food Group, said the dangers of nut allergies had become a heightened issue, particularly when it came to children’s birthdays and celebrations. 

“We want our customers to feel reassured that we are taking action and doing something in response to this,”​ he said. 

“We are always looking for ways we can ensure our products can be enjoyed by as many people as possible and believe that the reassurance of buying a celebration cake with a nut-free guarantee should always be an option in the cake aisle.”

Meanwhile, the company has said it expects its group revenues for the year to be slightly down on the prior year due to the impact of Coronavirus. 

It said that it expected revenues for the financial year ended 27 June 2020 to hit £306.3m, down from £315.3m in 2019. 


Revenue in the Group's core division, UK Bakery, decreased 2.6% and in the group's overseas division decreased 4.9%. 

It said that the implementation of lockdown meant that demand in the foodservice and food to go sectors, which accounted for approximately 20% of total revenue in 2019, reduced to almost nil overnight before gradually recovering to 39% of prior year levels for Q4. 

It added that retail, the largest part of the group, remained relatively resilient albeit impacted by consumer shopping behavioural changes during lockdown. While celebration cakes sales declined it saw increased demand for everyday product ranges, particularly round cakes and buns and rolls.

John Duffy, ceo of Finsbury Food Group, said: "While the pandemic meant that sales were down in Q4, we are encouraged by the steady monthly improvements we have seen since March as demand begins to move in the right direction again. 

"It has been a challenging period for the group but we have remained cash generative. By implementing comprehensive cost and cash management measures quickly and effectively we will emerge from the crisis with new and more efficient ways of working that will be of long-term benefit to the Group.” 




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