Artful Baker 2022

The Artful Baker won a nationwide listing with Aldi after appearing on Channel 4’s Aldi’s Next Big Thing in 2022

Warburtons-backed artisan biscotti brand The Artful Baker has shut up shop after succumbing to insurmountable cost pressures.

The Dorset-based business, which also starred on Channel 4’s Aldi’s Next Big Thing, appointed liquidators from Leonard Curtis on 5 April after experiencing cashflow issues in recent months.

Attempts to secure a rescue deal by the insolvency firm were unsuccessful and all nine staff were made redundant.

Founded in 2013 by Paul Rostand, The Artful Baker made a range of premium sweet and savoury biscotti to supply independents and foodservice, as well as producing private-label products for the likes of Hotel Chocolat.

It won backing from Warburtons in 2021 and was the maiden investment for the bakery giant’s Batch Ventures innovation fund in partnership with grocery accelerator Mission Ventures.

Rostand told The Grocer that Warburtons and Batch had offered “fantastic” support since investing, but the business struggled to cope with soaring costs hitting the industry just as it was recovering from the pandemic.

He said energy bills had more than doubled and raw ingredients prices for flour, butter, sugar and eggs had trebled.

Leonard Curtis director David Smithson said: “This case reflects the difficulties companies are facing in the food and drink sector right now.

“We are disappointed that no jobs could be saved in this scenario, but all assets have been sold following the liquidation of the business.”

Rostand added: “The pressures we experienced as a business over the past five years, with Covid and then energy and raw ingredients costs, became unsurmountable.

“Warburtons and Batch Ventures were a fantastic support to the business and part of the team. I’d like to thank them for all their help over the past few years.”

The Artful Baker appeared in the 2022 series of Aldi’s Next Big Thing and, despite losing out on a contract with the discounter in the episode, ended up being listed in its stores nationwide.

“It was a great experience taking part and Aldi were also a fantastic support,” said Rostand. “I would not hesitate in recommending other small startups applying to go on the show.”