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Sales soar at Suffolk duck meat firm despite tough competition

PUBLISHED: 15:44 18 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:06 18 September 2018

William (right) and Geoffrey Buchanan, joint MDs of Gressingham Foods Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

William (right) and Geoffrey Buchanan, joint MDs of Gressingham Foods Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Profits have soared at the Suffolk parent company of a family-run duck and specialist meat firm - despite tough trading conditions in the industry as a whole.

William (right) and Geoffrey Buchanan, joint MDs of Gressingham Foods Picture: LUCY TAYLORWilliam (right) and Geoffrey Buchanan, joint MDs of Gressingham Foods Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Fast-growing Green Label Foods, which includes the Gressingham Foods brand, saw profit after tax rise from £1.4m in 2017 to nearly £4.1m this year. The firm is based at Debach, near Woodbridge, and has a large facility at Redgrave in the north of the county.

Joint managing director of Gressingham Foods William Buchanan, who runs the firm with brother Geoff, said investments had paid off, although competition had intensified. “Trading conditions within the meat, fish & poultry market remain tough, limiting sales growth as competition between retailers, combined with growing pressure on shelf space, intensifies but we are now seeing the benefit from investment in our farms, factories and people to improve efficiencies and have also laid the foundations for further growth with the launch of our new restaurant-quality meal range, Bistro By Gressingham,” he said.

Green Label turnover grew from nearly £107m in 2017 to more than £109m in 2018, while gross profit rose from £16.7m to £19.1m.

In the firm’s annual report, Geoff Buchanan said the level of business was “positive” and sales were strong, resulting from ongoing investment in product range and strengthening of the Gressingham brand.

“Cost efficiencies were driven through the business to face the challenges of increased prices and labour costs,” he said. “This helped strengthen the overall profitabilty of the business for the year.”

The business was “very focused on growing Gressingham as a brand and strengthening the duck and game market as a whole.

In May of this year, the company set up a new firm, Gressingham Game Ltd, after acquiring a game business.

“The addition of the new new company will add great value and diversity to the future of Gressingham,” he said.

The business faced “significant risk” of competition, which heavily influenced pricing.

“With increased inflationary costs the company continuously drives for efficiency to maintain a competitive edge,” he said.

Other major risk factors included the risk of disease in poultry flocks and the impact of Brexit, he said.

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