Now in its thirteenth year, Bramble Foods is one of the country’s leading suppliers of ambient foods in the independent retail sector, employing over 100 local people in Market Harborough, Leicestershire. Bramble are well known in the sector for manufacturing and supplying a comprehensive range of products. But when Covid19 hit, Bramble knew that tough times lay ahead for their customers.
Bramble believed that ambient food could be the answer. With the bottle necks caused by queuing and social distancing, space is at a premium. Ambient food optimises shelf space, has a long shelf life, a decent margin and is quick and easy to sell through, helping to keep those queues moving. With the majors struggling with empty shelves, Bramble decided that maintaining the supply chain was key.
Tony Foster, Managing Director, said “We have always taken great pride in fulfilling orders and delivering on time. When lockdown was announced, we made the difficult decision to maintain that reputation. To achieve this, we needed a fully stocked warehouse. We knew that manufacturing at our two purpose-built facilities was within our control. So, we continued baking and preserving at full capacity throughout lockdown. The safety of our staff was paramount, so it wasn’t easy. But with their conscientious attitude and some serious planning, we managed to keep everything going, keeping our warehouse shelves fully stocked with Bramble cakes, tray bakes, chutneys and preserves.”
“We were also able to support our UK suppliers by buying branded goods at the same levels as in recent years. We felt we had to take the risk. Garden centres have been our biggest customers for many years. We wanted to be part of the solution, to get garden centres back up and running, enjoy a busy Christmas and continue to prosper into the New Year. So, we decided to expand our range, with the stay-at-home family market in mind.”
And the gamble appears to be paying off. Bramble Foods is now busier than ever, despite Covid.
Tony went on to say “We have also recently undertaken a complete redesign of the Bramble Foods brand. We knew we needed to freshen up our look. We were almost there when Covid hit. Rather than wait till it was all over, we decided to redouble our efforts and get the redesign project finished, ready for when garden centres opened again. There was a lot of work to do, since every loaf cake and jar has a unique, hand drawn label to reflect the care and effort that goes into our small batch production. But we got the job done and it appears to have done the trick. Our customers are really benefiting from the fresh look of our products, giving their sales the extra boost they needed coming out of lockdown.”