Vale of Mowbray

Vale of Mowbray generated annual turnover of more than £20m and supplied a range of pork pies and savoury pastries to the supermarkets

The Compleat Food Group has picked up assets from the collapsed pork pie maker Vale of Mowbray to enhance its capabilities.

The historic Yorkshire-based business, which started making pork pies in 1928, appointed administrators from FRP in September last year after struggling to cope with soaring input cost inflation and higher energy bills.

Five months on from the collapse, which saw more than 200 staff lose their jobs, the insolvency firm secured the sale of the plant and machinery to Compleat on 1 March 2023.

FRP also sold the Leeming Bar manufacturing site to NewCold, a Dutch-based advanced automated warehousing and cold chain logistics specialist.

“Despite trading for almost 100 years, Vale of Mowbray faced significant challenges and was no longer able to operate or secure the investment needed to trade,” FRP partner Martyn Pullin said.

“While it’s never easy saying goodbye to an established brand, we’re pleased to have found buyers for both the site and machinery and wish them all the best in the future.”

Vale of Mowbray generated annual turnover of more than £20m and supplied a range of pork pies and savoury pastries to the supermarkets.

In 2021, the business invested £4.6m in a new frying line to allow it to expand into scotch eggs and posher pies. However, the manufacturer struggled with rising costs and replacing EU workers following Brexit.

A report into the administration by FRP said volatility in material costs and operational challenges over Christmas 2021 led to a significant underperformance in a normally profitable and cash generative period.

Costs then further ramped up in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine, with energy costs more than doubling to £2.2m.

Vale owed creditors almost £12m when then business entered administration, the report showed.

Compleat was formed in 2020 after French PE firm PAI Partners combined Addo Food and Winterbotham Darby as a platform to create a chilled foods giant, bolting on pie maker Wrights Food Group in 2021.

The group manufactures the Pork Farms and Wall’s Pastry brands and is the number one supplier of olives, antipasti and continental meats to the UK supermarket, as well as owning plant-based brand Vadasz and Squeaky Bean.