robwhitehead.jpgYorkshire based food industry entrepreneur Rob Whitehead has announced the creation of a new food group under the brand ‘Zubrance.’ Despite the economic climate, Rob is actively looking to grow the business through targeted acquisition.

The Zubrance group specialises in working with food manufacturers and retailers to create high quality, profitable food products. Its companies include sauce manufacturer New Ivory, based in Elland, West Yorkshire, Food Design, based in Harrogate, which makes toffee and fudge inclusions, and Quality Kernels, which specialises in processing seeds, nuts and dried fruit from its factory in Dudley. The group generates £22m turnover and works with some of the UK’s best known retailers and food companies, including Marks & Spencer, ASDA, Cadbury, Premier Foods and Nandos.

Founder Rob Whitehead explains the reason behind the launch of the brand: “I wanted to create much more than a group of food ingredients companies. I wanted Zubrance companies to be known and respected for their ability to deliver better than market solutions for our customers. That means thinking about what their customers need and what we think would be good for their business, not just what we can produce.  For example, we know that there is an opportunity for one of our customers to sell more product by offering a sauce alongside it.  We’re working with them to identify what sauce would most likely increase sales of that product. We’re not just providing a sauce, we’re providing a solution which creates incremental profit for them.

“Zubrance companies stand out from other ingredient and food businesses, because we have a track record of delivering added value solutions both in product and service. To do this consistently you need people with the right mindset and the right expertise. Our people are passionate, energetic, and creative; they’re also experts in their fields. It is this commitment to adding genuine value by going the extra mile for customers that sets us apart.”

Rob Whitehead has an impressive track record in developing food manufacturing businesses. Having taken over as MD of Matthews Foods, a supplier of fats, spreads and margarines to retailers and food manufacturers, in 1995, he grew the company’s turnover from £6m to £40m. In 2005 he oversaw the disposal of the group to Kerry Foods. Since then he has focused on building up a new Group of food ingredient companies.

Zubrance is now looking to expand, in particular looking for specialist food ingredients suppliers which share a similar passion for adding value and quality.

Rob Whitehead concludes: “Whilst market conditions are undoubtedly tough, we know from our research that agile and responsive manufacturers are well placed to weather the storm.  Consumers are more inclined to eat in and will spend a little more on a well deserved treat. We’ll be building Zubrance over the coming years to tap into this opportunity by helping our customers to develop food products which satisfy the requirement of the consumer and ultimately their businesses.”

Zubrance Group is officially launched on 17th February 2009. It specialises in providing added value products and services to the food manufacturing industry. Zubrance Group generates £22m in turnover and comprises three wholly owned subsidiaries: New Ivory (£13m t/o), the UK’s leading sweet and savoury sauces manufacturer, Food Design (£4m t/o) which makes sweet inclusions (toffee, fudge and chocolate) for cakes, biscuits, chocolate and desserts, and Quality Kernels (£5m t/o) which processes nuts, dried fruit and seeds.

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