Bakery puts healthier treats on school menu
10 November 2010
A Barnsley family bakery that supplied cookies to Wimbledon and the Ryder Cup is rising to the challenge of providing healthier baking to thousands of schoolchildren.
White’s Bakery, based at Worsbrough Bridge, delivers home-style bread, pastries and other products to primary and secondary schools across the region, from Leeds to Doncaster, and is committed to helping schools meet national nutritional guidelines.
With the recent backing of business support organisation Enterprising Barnsley, White’s hopes to further expand its service to schools along with that it provides to sandwich shops and other outlets.
Managing director David White said: “We recognise that head cooks have to provide balanced menus and maintain the uptake of school lunches. We’re working to reduce fat and sugar content against standard products and introduce more nutrients while still baking products that appeal to youngsters.
“We’re currently developing a healthier range of cakes, some of which contain fruit, and it’s my aim that by being flexible and offering great service we can be a one-stop shop for schools in breads and baked goods.”
White’s was founded by David’s grandparents Albert and Elsie in 1934. Elsie ran the library in Worsbrough Bridge but the popularity of her home baking led to it being turned into a baker’s shop with a fully working bakery at the back. All doughs were mixed by hand and the ovens fired with coal.
Sons Jack and Colin joined the business and bread was delivered by handcart to a second shop in Barnsley market. The bakery moved to its existing site in Charles Street in 1954 and the business gradually grew, picking up a range of awards along the way, and at one stage had a total of ten shops.
David, Jack’s son, took over in 1996 and, around ten years ago, the business changed direction to put the emphasis on manufacturing rather than retail. The number of shops was reduced to four – the original two locations plus Conisbrough and Darfield.
Around 160,000 items leave the bakery each six-day week and it is a near round-the-clock operation. Goods are baked from 5am to 11pm while delivery drivers start arriving at 2am to take out fresh products. White’s currently employs 55 staff but is creating five new posts including apprenticeships.
In addition to supplying schools, White’s makes products for a number of other companies. Its American-style, Fairtrade cookies are growing in popularity with white chocolate and double chocolate varieties enjoyed at this year’s Ryder Cup and Wimbledon events. Another cookie range is stocked in supermarkets across Ireland. Thousands of quiche bases baked in Barnsley will be on the menu at Ikea restaurants in the UK this Christmas.
White’s qualified for free assistance from marketing specialist Kevin Steel – a coach with the Enterprising Barnsleyprogramme, which offers business support to Barnsley businesses with growth potential. Enterprising Barnsley has attracted £2.89m investment from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.
Kevin is helping the firm to improve marketing materials and develop a website as well introducing it to potential new clients.
“We felt that we were strong in operational and financial areas but fell down when it came to sales and marketing and that’s where Kevin’s ideas and advice have been extremely useful,” said David.
Kevin commented: “Whites are prepared to take advice and run with suggestions. With a fresh pair of eyes looking at alternative ways of tackling issues and opportunities, confidence levels within the sales team increased quickly.
“I’ve been able to help develop this professional team even further with encouragement and coaching in alternative ways of tackling sales opportunities. These include plans to introduce a software programme to help structure leads.”
Sectors eligible for Enterprising Barnsley help are advanced manufacturing and materials, digital and creative industries, financial and business services, bioscience, sports technology, environmental technology and food and drink technologies.
For further information about White’s, contact David on 01226 770963. To find out more about support available through Enterprising Barnsley go to www.enterprisingbarnsley.co.uk
Notes to News Editors:
Enterprising Barnsley is a partnership between Barnsley Development Agency, Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre, University Campus Barnsley and Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to provide an integrated programme of business support. For further information, contact James Herbert, marketing and networks manager, on 01226 249590 or email firstname.lastname@example.org