The sandwich business has suffered since the coronavirus pandemic began, with turnover shrinking by about 65%. It supplies three main industries – the NHS, airlines and the education sector. However, custom from airlines and education was virtually shut down during the crisis.
“It was absolutely horrendous and it was like the end of the world,” he added.
The business was given the top accolade of Company of the Year at the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards 2020.
Chairman Matt Raynor said many of the company’s competitors had closed during the lockdown, but said that, due to its NHS business, the company was “duty-bound not to do that”.
The sandwich and food-to-go sectors have been hit hard by the shutdown as people increasingly ate at home.
Raynor said the Government’s furlough scheme had been very important for the firm, but admitted that some staff had left for other jobs.
“We have already started the recruitment for drivers as we need to increase the reach of where we are going,” he said.
“The collapse of Adelie [Foods] last month has loosened up the market.”
He said there was potential business “sloshing around” due to the failure of Adelie, which, pre-COVID-19, was worth millions of pounds.
Raynor said he was positive about the sandwich industry moving forward. August was traditionally “not a great time” for sandwich sales, especially as children were not in the education system, he said. However, he expected September and October to be “nuts” as schools reopened and people strove to get back to normal.
Sandwiches ‘obvious fit’
“Sandwiches are an obvious fit for feeding kids in schools,” he said. “They are hygienic, as they are individually packed meals. It fits a lot of social distancing methodology.”
While the company had witnessed a drop in trade due the coronavirus, some items it produced had “gone through the roof”, said Raynor.
These included its range of frozen sandwiches, which are “thaw and serve” as that allowed for control of stock and wastage.
Raynor said he was starting to see the “first glimmer” of hope returning to the airline industry, while the education market had “woken up”.
He added that the sandwich industry was very “susceptible” to the impact of the coronavirus and said he believed it would need help going forwards.
In 2015, Raynor Foods invested £2m to quadruple its sandwich output and create at least 65 new jobs.
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