Warburtons to venture into selling cakes

New business venture named after chairman Jonathan Warburton’s great-great aunt

Kate Ng
Wednesday 26 May 2021 14:30 BST
Jonathan Warburton in the new Warburtons advert in which he stars with George Clooney
Jonathan Warburton in the new Warburtons advert in which he stars with George Clooney

Bakery giant Warburtons is reportedly looking to expand its offerings from bread and crumpets to cake.

The 145-year-old bakery brand will trial the launch of a new range of cake products called Ellie Warburton, named after the great-great aunt of chairman Jonathan Warburton, reported The Times.

The move would see Ellie Warburton cakes being initially sold online and in two pop-up coffee shops in Harrogate and Skipton, North Yorkshire.

The company hopes that if the trial proves it has a viable product, it can then attempt a supermarket deal to sell its cakes to the wider UK public.

Currently, Warburtons sells bread, wraps, crumpets, bagels and thins in supermarkets throughout the country. The company recently released an advert starring George Clooney, and has had other celebrities like Robert de Niro, The Muppets and Peter Kay promoting its products before.

Warburton, 63, told the newspaper it was an “entrepreneurial move” for the business, as it hopes to get a slice out of the public’s enduring love of the Great British Bake Off.

He added: “Because we’re a family-owned company, we can give the trial a few months or a couple of years, as long as it is heading in the right direction.”

The Bolton-based company announced it was investing in production at its factory in Stockton, north east England, due to growing sales of its Thin Bagels earlier this year.

A spokesperson said at the time the company would pump £18 million into production, which will see the site expand by around 15 per cent and create 30 new jobs over time.

Over the course of the pandemic, Warburtons also saw a boom in sales as more people ate at home under lockdown.

Warburton said it had been “a very good year for the family shareholders” with £4.1 million given to the company’s 5,000 staff in bonuses.

He is also aware of increasing scrutiny on the role of food manufacturers in rates of obesity in the UK, particularly because of Boris Johnson’s new fitness push in the face of Covid-19.

The businessman told The Times that his 23-year-old son, who is a personal trainer, said life needs a treat every now and then or “you’d end up a dull person”.

He added that if people were going to have “naughty calories”, then they should ensure “they’re damn good naughty calories”, and joked that Warburtons could do well out of growing veganism because bread is “the ultimate plant-based food”.

The Independent has contacted Warburtons for comment.

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