Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Community Enterprise Reaches the High Street

We have both ends of the business scale here. One is a massive food manufacturer with brands that most of us have on our shelves and the other is a small community baker based in Dunbar.

First up is Premier Foods, better known for such store-cupboard favourites as OXO, Hovis, Mr Kipling and Bisto, to name but a few. They warned at the start of October 2011 that its full-year trading profit will fall below expectations. The UK’s biggest food manufacturer described current trading as “disappointing” with both sales and market share having declined over the last 12 months.

In the same week an article about a small community bakery in Dunbar, East Lothian caught my eye. Three hundred local residents have all invested a small amount of money in an attempt to revive their high-street. They hope to provide a new source of employment and training eventually developing a wholesale market as well as sales through the shop.

Now some of you will argue that Premier Foods has a raft of investors but I think we’re missing the whole point of why Dunbar Community Bakers can be successful. It’s about delivering a quality product to local people who care about what they are getting and who will actually use the product.

If you look down the list of executive directors for Premier, do we really believe that David Beever or Charles Smith are coming home and cracking open a jar of Loyd Grossman’s Thai Green Curry?

I wish them well and hope that we can see more social enterprises making it onto the high-street. As an aside, one of the 5 key priorities that the new chief executive of Premier, has identified is agreeing a refinancing plan. I wonder if he can learn something from a lesser known Scottish bakery?

You can check out Premier Foods latest financials at and if you want to monitor any credit/filing changes visit

1 comment: said...

Premier Foods, the firm behind brands such as Mr Kipling and Hovis, wins a three-month reprieve on its £1.27bn debts according to reports on the BBC website.