The multi-million pound company has filled a major gap in its portfolio of branded and own label products by agreeing a joint venture with speciality bacon supplier Jack Scaife.
The family-owned Yorkshire bacon business, described as a “pretty much a cottage industry” by Cranswick Country Foods md Bernard Hoggarth, has built a reputation for traditional quality on the back of a mail order business and direct selling via national shows. It has listings in some northern supermarkets.
“Bacon squares the circle for our business,” said Hoggarth. “We are now a one-stop pork shop.”
The Jack Scaife brand will continue under the new Gourmet Bacon Company with manufacturing at Waterfoot. A £65,000 wood chip smoker has been installed to replicate the Scaife smoking process.
Cranswick, which took the sausage fixture by storm eight years ago with the acquisition of Mr Lazenby’s, plans to do the same for bacon, said Hoggarth.
“We want to get people back into quality bacon, like we got them back into quality sausage. A lot of people out there are trading up. They want quality.”
With 92% household penetration, however, many are questioning where bacon can go. “They said the same about sausage,” said Hoggarth. “We reinvented sausage eight years ago and this year we will turn over £13m in them, producing 80-100 tonnes a week.”
Started by a group of pig farmers in the mid seventies, Cranswick has followed a policy of acquisitions that has taken it into ham, continental meats, sandwiches and pork-based summer eating products.
With two feed mills and a dedicated abattoir, it trades 12-15,000 pigs a week, supplying pigs from its 3,500 sow herd to its manufacturing division.