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Honeytop completes major expansion

22 July 2010

David Laurence, joint MD of Honeytop Speciality Foods, is upbeat when asked how it dealt with the Recession, saying it hadn't experienced one but was enjoying the subsequent upturn in the economy

When I suggest that own-label brands – such as those Honeytop produces for some supermarkets - are vulnerable to retail whim, David persuasively defends the company strategy. ``Our relationship with the supermarkets is strong enough to maintain our position in the market,’’ he says, “we don’t have our own brand to push, so everything we’ve got goes into their products.”

The company certainly seems to be riding high, having just announced the completion of a major expansion project which it says has created many new jobs, doubled its capacity and 'significantly enhanced its production facilities'.

It says this expansion is owing to ‘strengthened relationships with new and existing customers following a move into the production of morning goods including crumpets and pancakes’. In fact, it says the development is part of an ‘ambitious growth plan to increase the company’s global production capacity’.

So what is Honeytop? It describes itself as Europe's leading producer of naan and flatbreads which offers bespoke products and 'outstanding value'. It currently holds 68 per cent of the naan market; 43 per cent of the own-label pancake and crumpet market; and 45 per cent of the own-label tortilla market.

The company is a family run business which occupies about 200,000sqft across six units at its bakery on the Woodside Industrial Estate in Dunstable. It employs around 400 people.

Dr Samir Eid founded Honeytop Speciality Foods in 1984; in 1987 it became the first company to supply authentic naan breads on a commercial scale. By 1993 it had become the first bakery in the UK to introduce 13-week shelflife flatbread products to the market.

In 1994 sons William and Charles Eid assumed joint directorship of the company and that year the company became the exclusive supplier of Sharwoods ethnic breads. The relocation of the factory from Leicester to Dunstable took place in 1999 - the same year Honeytop became the first to produce filled flatbreads commercially.

Honeytop in 2003 won the McDonald's New Product of the Year supplier and a year later it won the Three Legged Stool award for outstanding contribution and leadership to the McDonalds UK system.

In 2004, it took on an additional production unit doubling the square footage and production capacity of the bakery.

In 2005 Honeytop won McDonald's European Supply Chain Symposium plan to win product award. It also won new exporter of the year at the 2006 Food From Britian awards. Since then the company has gone from strength-to-strength, with highlights including being appointed to supply Tesco with products in its ‘Finest’ range (2007) and partnering with Marks & Spencer in 2008.

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