English Provender Company has this week opened an innovation centre as part of a three-year plan to grow the £90m business.
The branded and own-label sauces, condiments and ingredients supplier hopes to attract retail partners to the centre at its Newbury HQ and work with them to develop new products.
“We have a lot of consumer insight and it is about getting that to the retail market through innovation,” said commercial director David Garland. “We’re also looking at packaging innovation.”
The company employs a 19-strong product innovation team, and plans to increase it further over the next three years. “It is a big commitment to innovation,” said Garland.
English Provender, which is owned by The Billington Group, said turnover had grown by 10% in the past year to £90m. Currently, about 45% of business comes from ingredients, 35% from own-label products and the remainder from branded lines such as English Provender Company, Very Lazy and Newman’s Own, which is produced under licence.
“We expect own-label products and brands will grow faster than ingredients,” said Garland.
English Provender also this week revealed it was growing its branded business through a five-year licensing agreement with restaurant sauce brand Sweet Mandarin.
Three new dipping sauces - Sriracha, Hoi Sin and Wasabi - are being launched as production and distribution moves to English Provender.
The original line-up, which launched in 2012 and was produced in a small facility in Manchester, comprises sweet chilli, sweet & sour and barbecue sauces, and there are plans to add lines once the brand - currently sold in Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Ocado and Booths - gains further traction.