A FOOD business in Tenbury is expanding with the potential to create up to another 20 jobs.

Orchard Valley Foods has announced the acquisition of Food Ingredients International Limited, adding to its existing specialist ingredients business, and taking sales to more than £20million annually.

All the activities of Food Ingredients International, based in Daventry in Northamptonshire, will move to Burford.

It marks a further step in the growth of Orchard Valley Foods that has its offices, laboratories and warehouse in Burford and has expanded to become a major employer in the area.

Orchard Valley Foods operates three business units: specialist ingredients, confections and dairy supplies.

Headcount on the Tenbury site now numbers 54 permanent employees with a total staff requirement of 75 at peak production times. This has steadily grown over the last three years in particular.

A new board position of sales director has been created which will be filled early on this month.

“Food Ingredients International has a great reputation among its customer base, a comprehensive product portfolio, and access to outstanding production facilities that we are pleased to inherit,” said managing director Mike Forrester.

“We’ve a strong desire to develop the business, introducing our existing customers to the wider set of functional components we now supply."

At the end of 2013 Orchard Valley Foods was earmarked as ‘one to watch’ in a top business survey.

Each year The Sunday Times publishes a list of top performing businesses based on sales and also lists those businesses throughout the UK considered by experts to be ‘ones to watch.’

The company makes a range of food ingredients for the confectionary trade.

Customers include food manufacturers, retailers, food service businesses, home bakers and quick service restaurants.

It has also benefitted from the increasing popularity of home baking.

Most of the business involves trade customers but there are also an increasing number of sales to retailers including major outlets such as Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda.

Orchard Valley Foods’ trade customers include household names such as Pizza Hut, Weetabix, Kraft Cadbury and McVitie’s.

The company’s manufacturing includes mixes for cakes, muffins and other bakery products.

Orchard Valley Foods sell throughout the UK as well as exporting to a number of European countries including Holland and Belgium.

The site that includes three units also undertakes product development, blending, packaging and product development.

The owner of the Food Ingredients International will continue to work with Orchard Valley Foods on a consultancy basis for the time being.

Orchard Valley Foods has said that it is committed to the area despite its relative isolation and poor communications links.