Stevenage is home to a growing number of companies who have established their HQs in the town, including a growing number of food and drink businesses. Local companies provide raw ingredients and fresh produce to leading grocery brands and snack providers. The food and drink manufacturing sector is the largest manufacturing industry in the UK and Stevenage businesses support a growing trend. Stevenage supports artisan bakeries to large scale industrial manufacturing along with the UK’s leading wine merchant and home brews to tantalise the taste buds of its consumers.
Facts and Figures
- 230bn spent on food and drink each year nationally
- 450,000+ employed in the sector
- £22.5bn food and drink exports in 2018
- Food and drink is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK
- Stevenage support 6,000 jobs in manufacturing
Supporting top 10 grocery brands
Stevenage is home to Allied Bakeries, one of the UK’s top 10 grocery brands, which include Kingsmill, Burgen, Allinson and Sunblest. It provides a key manufacturing plant to Allied Bakeries, who work together with Allied Mills to make up Allied Milling & Baking, part of the Associated British Foods (ABF) plc, which includes; Twinings, Silver Spoon, Primark, Ryvita, Ovaltine, Patak’s and Jordans Cereals.
Allied Bakeries have been located in Stevenage since 1974 and are a key employer in the area. As part of the companies modernisation programme across the UK, they supported over £30m investment at the Stevenage site to support new infrastructure and investment in equipment and to develop new products for the market, continuing to support high standards in bakery.
Stevenage is the UK Headquarters to Kanegrade Limited, a global supplier of natural food ingredients for the food and drink, flavourings and pharma industries. They supply fruit juices, freeze dried fruit, purees, vegetable pastes, fish pastes and powders, meat pastes and powders, along with whole nuts, pastes and powders. Its distribution centre serves a global market and they are a key supplier to Coca Cola, General Mills, GSK Kerry, Nestle and Pesico.
Flamingo Produce, part of the global Flamingo Group, including Flamingo Horticulture is a vertically integrated vegetable growing and marketing group that operates as a virtual cooperative and has its Head Office in Stevenage. Flamingo Horticulture is an industry leader bringing sustainably produced cut flowers and fresh produce to the market. Flamingo Produce is one of the largest global suppliers of fresh premium and freshly prepared seasonal vegetable to the market. They are a core supplier to leading UK retailers including; Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Co-op Morrison’s and Sainsbury’s.
Stevenage provides one of the main manufacturing plants for Europe Snacks, a multinational private label manufacturer of crisps and snacks for both the independent and major retail sector. Europe Snacks boasts extensive production capabilities and manufactures a wide array of crisps and snacks including stacked chips, standard & crinkle cut crisps, hand-cooked crisps, crackers, tortilla chips, extruded snacks, pellet based snacks and popcorn.
Stevenage is home to The Wine Society, a co-operative led business and one of the UK’s leading wine merchants. It’s “Passion before Profit” principle ensures the business only sources wines its buyers truly believe in, rather than those that make the most money. This guarantees a fair price for its members and forges ethical grower relationships with wine producers. With over 145,000 members, the Wine Society has operated from Stevenage since 1965. The Stevenage site also provides a stunning Cellar Showroom open for on-the-spot sales and also for hosting a number of events throughout the year for members. The Wine Society has won a number of accolades over the years and recently has been awarded the International Wine Challenge; Merchant of the Year 2021. It has also received the prestigious Decanter Retail Awards for “Online Retailer of the Year 2020”, “Best Specialist Retailer of the Year” and specialist awards for its growers in Spain & Portugal and Austria.
As part of the rising trend of craft breweries and demand for craft beers, Six Hills Brewing recently came on the scene as Stevenage’s first craft brewery and tap room. Originally, set up as home brewer, the business has transformed from a traditional cask ale producer to a “super hoppy juice creator.”
Home-made, wholesome and natural
With the demand for more natural products, home grown produce and the desire to support health and wellbeing, Stevenage is seeing a rising trend of businesses bringing products to the market that adapt to diverse audiences and ever changing tastes.
Leavened Ltd is the dream child of Isabella who was inspired like many during the first lock down to make her own sour dough bread. This progressed to a wide array of freshly bread baked goods from good quality products. Initially spurred by friends to start her own business, Leavened Ltd has built an extensive customer base in less than 6 months and the business continues to grow in size and reputation.
Heavenly Cakes, is the dream child of husband and wife team Nigel and Maeve Green. Frustrated with the lack of natural cakes on the market, Maeve started her cake making business from natural and good quality ingredients, with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. Proving a success with customers, Heavenly Cakes currently supports a number of well know High Street names and eateries with home-made cakes and bakes.