Meadowfresh of Chesterfield, based in Clay Cross, has been trading for over 20 years. It started out as a butchers and has since developed four outlets, including a farm-based bakery. These outlets sell the business’ own meat and other products. Meadowfresh also supplies it products to the foodservice market, examples being pub chains and wholesale food distributors.
Why engage with Invest to Grow?
Over recent years Meadowfresh has seen a significant increase in demand for its pies, which are produced at its bakery. This increasing demand was evident not only in the business’ own outlets but also through sales to distributors within the foodservice market, specifically via Samuel Smith’s Brewery and Holdsworth Foods.
Meadowfresh recognised that, to capitalise on this growth potential, it needed enhanced production facilities. The on-farm bakery was approximately 800ft² and accessed via a farm track. The business therefore identified the need for larger premises with improved access and equipment in order to increase the volume of production.
Meadowfresh was awarded a grant of £67,805 through Invest to Grow, which contributed towards it moving to a significantly larger site (approximately 5,000ft²) for its new bakery. The funding also enabled the fit-out of the premises, including new equipment.
What has been the impact of Invest to Grow?
The new bakery, which Meadowfresh first accessed in November 2017, is based in the centre of Clay Cross. It became fully operational from March 2018.
The immediate impact of the new facility was the opportunity to undertake higher volume and more efficient production, therefore providing the capacity to meet rising demand from businesses within the foodservice market. For example, the bakery includes two large ovens which have a capacity of five times that of those within the previous facility. Similarly, the improved refrigeration facilities provide much greater capacity, contributing to a general increase in storage space. This has enabled Meadowfresh to purchase more produce at cheaper prices and to subsequently retain more produce. Tyrone Brooks, Partner at Meadowfresh, commented:
“The new bakery is so much better for us. We can produce our pies more efficiently and in greater volumes. The facility also gives us the opportunity to diversify our product range and seek new markets.”
The new facility has already provided a series of positive impacts, including the ability to contract directly with several clients that Meadowfresh was previously supplying indirectly. It has also enabled the business to commence diversification of its products, for example through developing a range of different sized pies to suit customer needs. Meadowfresh is also in negotiations with Holdsworth Foods to provide a wider range of products, including vegetarian pies. Tyrone Brooks commented:
“The increased capacity at our new bakery has enabled us to consider different versions of our current products. We can therefore be increasingly bespoke to customer requirements.”
The enhanced capacity created through the new facility has already led to the creation of nine new jobs within Meadowfresh, encompassing bakers, butchers and other support staff. It is expected that this will increase to a minimum of twelve new jobs over the coming months.
Meadowfresh plans to use its new facility to create a series of additional positive developments. These are expected to include additional sales volumes and further diversification of products to a wide range of businesses across the foodservice market. An example of this is the likely production of gluten free pastry, which Meadowfresh has been working alongside a local university to develop, as well as a range of sweet pastries.
Without the funding from Invest to Grow, it is likely that Meadowfresh would have moved into a smaller facility, most probably within an industrial estate rather than a town centre location. Tyrone Brooks commented:
“Without the support of Invest to Grow I think we would have moved into a much smaller new bakery. This would have constrained our capacity for growth and would maybe have led to the creation of only two or three new jobs, rather than the nine we have already created.”
Meadowfresh’s involvement with Invest to Grow has raised its awareness of the University of Derby as a potential source of future collaboration and support. Tyrone Brooks referred to the potential for future engagement with the University:
''The people I dealt with were really good…they came out with good advice. If the business has any future problems or opportunities I would be encouraged to give them a call and ask if there is anything the University could do to help.”