Gatenby will take over the day-to-day running of the company and lead strategic direction for the business, working towards diversification and modernisation with equipment, systems and a new vision for growth.
The business, which boasts an average turnover of £23m, said it planned a further injection of capital to fuel continued growth. The investment will support a full rebrand, with new environmentally friendly packaging and a proposed £3m investment in new product new launches planned over the next 12 months.
Meanwhile, John Gatenby will step into the role of chairman at Vale of Mowbray after holding the role of managing director for 40 years. Mark has grown up in the business and has 23 years’ experience in the food industry, having learned the art of pie making from his father. He would use the knowledge he has gained as a platform for further growth and development, according to the company.
Vale of Mowbray's origins
Vale of Mowbray's origins date back to 1795 when The Vale of Mowbray Brewery opened its doors in North Yorkshire. It wasn’t until 1928 that the company changed its focus and started baking pies and it now produces 80m a year. This includes everything from its premium Grosvenor and County pies right down to its mini pork pies, which are sold in major supermarkets and independent retailers across the UK.
To kickstart the next phase of its growth, the business has undertaken extensive market research to profile the needs and wants of the contemporary consumer. The results would help reposition it to appeal to demand for baked-to-go, sharing pies as well as increasing the trend for charcuterie and sharing boards.
“I am relishing the opportunity to take the reins from my dad who has done so much for this business already," said Gatenby. "I am confident that with everything I’ve learnt over the last 20 years and with fantastic team around me we can revolutionise the ready-made pork pie industry."
The firm planned to diversify into new areas and boost the proportion of its sales currently commanded by the Vale of Mowbray brand, he added. It currently represents one fifth of total revenue.
“Our entire commercial team are all hungry to lead what we see as a ‘pie movement’ going on in the UK at the moment," said Gatenby. "I’ve encouraged small teams to work on projects they’re passionate about and present ideas to the wider business for extra investment. This has already produced some exciting innovations which will be launching in 2021 with aim of leading the category.”
“2020 has certainly been a challenge at Vale of Mowbray, however, we’re agile and have been able to react quickly to opportunities and make quick decisions."