Avondale Foods reports good year despite surge in costs

Avondale Foods reports good year despite surge in costs
Coleslaw and salad supplier Avondale Foods has reported record revenues, but rising costs put pressure on profits.
The firm, which supplies chains such as Marks & Spencer while also selling under its own Country Kitchen brand,  reported that profits declined by £300,000 to just over £6.6m on turnover of £68m.
Company directors spoke of increased distribution and commodity costs, with the price of vegetable oil has increased 75% in a year.
“The food manufacturing sector is experiencing very challenging times,” Co-chairman Derek Geddis said.
“Labour shortages due to Brexit is compounded by staff isolating because of Covid. A shortage of lorry drivers has placed pressure on our distribution networks.“Commodity and packaging costs continue to rise along with fuel prices.”
However the company reported increased year on year sales to the end of March 2021, up by close to £5m.
“Despite current difficulties we will have maintained the same level of sales for year ending March 2022,” said Mr Geddis.
“Fortunately we’ve been able to work closely with our customers and we’ve had tremendous support from our staff during this difficult period.”
The family-owned company, started by brothers Harry and Derek in 1965, began life as a vegetable distributor to local outlets.
Within a number of years it was security larger contract, including in 1968 for M&S.
That relationship with the major retailer continues today as Avondale is the sole supplier of coleslaw and potato salad to M&S, which sells the products under its own brand.
Avondale also makes fresh soups, sauces, dough balls, porridge and noodles, selling to Sainsbury’s, Asda, Tesco and others.
It sells some products under its own brand name Country Kitchen.
The company’s average workforce over the year ending March 2021 dropped by 15 to 484. The annual wage cost remained at £15.3m.