The Authentic Food Group has posted record sales as the Manchester-based world foods producer begins to reap the benefits of significant investment in new production facilities.
Accounts to be filed shortly show the group made a pre-tax profit of £2.1m (2016: £0.8m loss) on record sales up 12% at £82.4m (2016: £73.6m) in the year to 31 May 2017. Gross margins increased to 29.3% (2016: 28.2%).
During the year the group, whose recipes are sold across major supermarkets and thousands of restaurants across the UK and Europe, successfully completed the integration of a 180,000 sq ft, state-of-the-art manufacturing site in Dundalk.
The Dundalk facility was bought in 2015 from Kraft Heinz to expand production and packaging capabilities. The deal included a co-pack arrangement to develop the US food giant’s range of ready meals such as Weight Watchers from Heinz in the UK and Europe.
Commenting on the results, Nik Basran, CEO of The Authentic Food Group, said:
“The year was an important one for us both in terms of delivering our long-term strategy to become the leading provider of frozen world foods in Europe, while at the same time keeping a tight control of costs.
“These results are all the more pleasing given the headwinds we faced post-Brexit, with the fall in the pound leading to higher raw material costs, as well as ongoing price pressure from customers.”
The group has several new contracts launching in autumn 2017 and spring 2018 and a significant pipeline of new business across both the retail and foodservice sectors.
Basran added: “The Dundalk acquisition was a transformational one, enabling us to double our capacity in the medium term. In the meantime, we’re well on track to deliver a run-rate of £100m in sales over the next twelve months.
“While market conditions remain challenging, and the terms of the UK’s departure from the European Union uncertain, we remain confident about our ability to deliver significant growth in the years ahead as we capitalise on rising demand for authentic, high quality world foods across the UK and Europe.”
Originally known for its Indian cuisine, the group has expanded its products to include a wide range of world foods, snacks and accompaniments as well as health-conscious cuisine.
It has also collaborated with chef, restaurateur and holder of two Michelin stars, Paul Heathcote, to develop a new range of classic British and Italian dishes, and the Yu family, owners of the award-winning restaurants Yu & You and Yu Alderley, to create a brand new range of Chinese recipes.
As well as supplying private label ranges for supermarkets, it produces ranges for third party brands under licence and its own foodservice brand, The Authentic Food Co.
The Authentic Food Group was recently recognised as one of the UK’s fastest-growing private food and drinks companies in the The Grocer’s annual Fast 50 survey.