British family-run baking group Frank Roberts & Sons, owner of Roberts Bakery, has announced plans to move its biscuit business, The Little Treats Bakery, to a new site in Cheshire.
The unit is to be relocated away from Roberts’ headquarters in Rudheath to a space four miles south in Winsford, which is also in Cheshire.
Frank Roberts & Sons merged its bread production unit, Roberts Bakery, with its biscuit manufacturing business line Little Treats in 2021.
The company supplies several UK retailers, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda, as well as own-label, food-to-go and foodservice customers.
Little Treats’ new facility will become “a centre of excellence for biscuit production”, the company said. It will also provide space for storing final products and raw materials.
All equipment in the former biscuit unit will be transported to the new site.
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The company also plans to install a “new robotic capability” at the site. This technology is intended to assist the “decorating capability on the biscuit line”, Frank Roberts & Sons told Just Food.
Whether the move to the new site has already begun has not been disclosed.
As part of the “shake-up”, the company will also begin the “significant rebuild” of its other two bakery plants at its headquarters, which are to focus solely on bread and baked morning goods.
Moving the biscuit unit to Winsford, the company says, will help it better “control” and smooth out operations at its two bakery plants in Northwich.
Frank Roberts & Sons also said it plans to add a third bread plant to the site, but did not give details on when this would take place.
The company also has a third site in Ilkeston, Derbyshire for speciality bread. This facility will remain focused on bread production, with the company planning to turn the site into a new centre for excellence for the business unit.
Frank Roberts & Sons stressed its latest decisions will guarantee job security for employees working across its three sites.
More than 730 people work at its Cheshire and Derbyshire bakeries.
Bill Thurston, managing director at Frank Roberts & Sons said in a statement: “This is a significant investment plan which will allow us to rebuild and revitalise the company and make sure it is fit for the future.
“The business has shown terrific resilience in recent months and we are indebted to the Roberts family, financial backers, key stakeholders and our people who believe in this brand. Now is the time for a new chapter in our 130-year history.”
Franks Roberts & Sons’ turnover hit £89m ($108m) in 2022, which it said has since increased to be “in excess of £90m”.