AN expanding Tenbury business has acquired one of the biggest brands in baking in a move that is already creating new jobs on the Teme Business Park.

Orchard Valley Foods, based on the Teme Business Park, has bought the creative baking solutions division of McDougalls, one of the biggest brands in baking.

The move has already resulted in three new jobs at the firm, which supplies baking ingredients to major producers throughout the UK.

Mike Forrester, who founded the business from home in 2012, has invested more than £600,000 in new units and machinery.

He has seen the staff increase from just two to 35 and further growth is planned for this year.

“We started as intermediary sourcing ingredients from suppliers in Europe for UK based manufacturers,” said Mike.

“Now we send out 10 million packages from Burford to customers all over the country. But as well as supplying we have also started manufacturing.”

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

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

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

At present the majority of the business is with customers all over the UK but the Burford based company is looking to expand further into the overseas market where it already supplies Holland and Belgium.

It sees huge growth potential in the home baking market and supplying to smaller ‘artisan’ bakers.

“People are baking at home again and the sector is growing by 19 per cent a year so it provides great opportunities for us,” said marketing director Cherry Blumberg, who has been with Orchard Valley Foods almost from the start.

Orchard Valley has a policy is using local suppliers whenever possible and is now one of the largest employers in the Tenbury area.

“This is a great place to live and work which is why I set up here,” said Mike.

“We have an excellent work force and most of our people live locally.

“Our products go all over the country and at least one large lorry will leave our plant every day. This location is not ideal for distribution but this is compensated for by the other benefits.”

Despite the austerity being faced by most business Orchard Valley Foods has not been affected by the economic downturn and is looking forward to a good 2012.

“The cake and confectionary sector has traditionally been very resilient to a tough economic situation.

People like to give themselves a treat and do more home cooking,” added Mike.