Rural business consultant Steven Mackintosh found himself harking on at food producers time and again that the only way to get new business ventures off the ground was to be fully devoted to the project.

He had always dreamt of running his own business and when he found the products he wanted, Mackintosh knew he had to act on his own advice and quit his consultancy job with Aubourn.

He used his experience as general manager at poultry breeder, arable farmer and soft fruit producer EC Drummond and Son to set up bakery supplier Mantinga in just six months. The company, which supplies a range of breads and pastries sourced from Eastern Europe, has now been running for eight months and currently has a turnover of £320,000. Mackintosh is targeting independent retailers, foodservice companies, national wholesalers and forecourts to realise his ambition of building the biggest bakery supplier in the country.

“The Mantinga idea only came about last April,” says Mackintosh. “My business partner Roger Bellamy was involved in recruiting foreign workers for UK companies when one of the employees said he should take a look at a bakery company in Lithuania.

“The quality of the product is fantastic, costs are low and everything we sell is hand finished, which creates the feel of a craft bakery.”

He secured exclusive UK distribution rights for five years with the Lithuanian company and his independent company was set up in September, with the official launch at IFE05.

“We started selling to local retailers in Gloucestershire. Now we’ve finished our entry strategy to get the products out with the right packaging and branding, we can concentrate on expansion.”

Mackintosh is now distributing to Oxfordshire and has been working with wholesalers to get the products out nationally.