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North Wales bakery clinches Australia pancake contract after popping up in internet search

Village bakery to supply their pancakes to Australia ; Pictured (L/R) Glen Marriott, Simon Thorpe and Lesley Arnot. picture Mandy Jones

The growing global reputation of a North Wales bakery company has earned it a lucrative contract to supply pancakes to Australia.

According to the Jones Village Bakery, which celebrates its 90th anniversary this year, it’s hoping the deal with a major Antipodean wholesale and distribution firm will open the door to sending a raft of other products to the new market Down Under.

It’s all been made possible by the Village Bakery’s investment in a new £2 million pancake production line which created 20 new jobs last year.

The new deal to supply Australian outlets will see a move to seven-days-a-week production and a further 20 jobs.

The initial agreement is to supply three types of American-style pancakes, buttermilk, blueberry and lemon flavours.

They will be frozen by specialist company Norish, located less than 500 yards away on Wrexham Industrial Estate, before being shipped to the other side of the world.

It’s a 42-day voyage and the fact that the pancakes are frozen gives them a 12-month shelf life.

With growing markets in France and Germany, exports are an essential ingredient in the company’s growing success, with overseas sales already topping £5 million and forecast to double over the next 12 months.

The Village Bakery’s Commercial Controller, New Zealander Glen Marriott, has played a key role in securing the Australia contract.

Glen said: “The distributor was looking for a new supplier and Googled people who make pancakes and we popped up. 

“They liked our values and how we promote from within, the quality of the products and the facilities and that prompted a phone call from their managing director and it went from there. 

“They have national reach so these products will be going across the whole of the country, from Western Australia right across the Eastern seaboard.

“Phase one is to supply them with pancakes which will be going into cafes, restaurants, as well as catering companies who service the huge mining industry over there.

“While it might seem odd that a guy from New Zealand, who works in Wales is selling pancakes to Australia, I think it helps the process that I’m from that part of the world because I know how they do business.

“It’s all very exciting. They came here on a visit last October to get a feel for us as a company and see the facilities. 

“They spent three days with us and it’s fair to say they were blown away by what they saw and they just loved the taste and texture of the pancakes.

“While they came to look at just the pancakes, they’re now looking at the possible roll-out of other products

“This is phase one of the strategy of how we establish ourselves in the Australian and New Zealand markets.”

Commercial Director Lesley Arnot said: “It’s fantastic to be selling products to the other side of the world because this is a totally new market for us.

“It speaks volumes about the excellence of Jones Village Bakery products that they were prepared to come all the way to the UK to find what they needed. 

“They were just delighted with the quality of our fluffy, American-style  pancakes which are different to the ones they already have over there, so they’re quite excited about that change.

“Working in partnership with them, I think it’s the start of something really great for us beyond just pancakes.

“We’re already talking to them about gluten free products and a whole range of other things. They’re particularly excited about pikelets which is like a thin crumpet and it’s brilliant that  a quintessentially Welsh product could be finding a home in Australia.”

Operations Director Simon Thorpe is equally excited by the potential for future growth.

He said: “This is big news for us because it represents another step on this amazing journey.

“What’s particularly gratifying is the confirmation that quality sells wherever you are in the world and that includes the southern hemisphere.

“If we can make products that we’re really proud of, I think that shines through and then when we bring customers to site, they can see the dedication and the passion of all the Village People involved in making all our great products.

“We’re also reaping the reward of investing £2 million to install our new, state-of-the-art pancake production line. It means even more new jobs because we are having to crew up to run the line seven days a week.

“Our partnership with Norish who freeze the pancakes means that the world is now our oyster and will enable us to continue to expand, boosting the economy here in Wrexham and flying the flag for Wales.”

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