Hull company which sold Aunt Bessie's for £210m buys new business

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 18 Jun 2018

The Hull food company which sold Aunt Bessie’s to Nomad Foods earlier this month has bought a business which employs almost 500 people.

William Jackson Food Group announced it had taken over Lancashire-based ingredients supplier Wellocks.

The impressive deal comes just weeks after the Hull business sold its renowned Aunt Bessie’s brand for £210m.

Norman Soutar, CEO of William Jackson Food Group, said: “We are a sixth generation family business and are delighted to be welcoming Wellocks, a business we have admired for many years, to the family.

“We’ve been looking to enter the fast-growing premium segment of the foodservice channel and believe Wellocks, which has itself enjoyed recent growth, has really exciting potential for the future with its great customers and really innovative suppliers.

“We’re really looking forward to helping Wellocks grow even further into the future.”

William Jackson Food Group started out as a small grocer shop in 1851.

Today, the company owns Jacksons Bakery, alongside organic grocery business Abel & Cole, The Food Doctor and MyFresh.

Read more: Historic Hull firm William Jackson Food Group to expand with new £40m bakery

Its latest addition, Wellocks, employs 470 people nationwide, and supplies ingredients to come of the country’s top chefs.

“The Group remains very focused on having a portfolio of great food businesses and this is an important acquisition for us, replacing the Wigan salad processing business we sold to Agrial a year ago,” Mr Soutar said.

James Wellock, whose father started Wellocks in Lancashire in 1961, also spoke about the new deal.

He said: “We’re really excited to be joining a family business which understands what Wellocks is all about and has family values very similar to our own.

“It’s very much business as usual for us and nothing is changing - the difference is that we now have a business behind us which brings even more knowledge and experience of the food industry and is able to invest in the long-term future of Wellocks and everyone who works here.”

Read more: EYMS boss reveals why he's sold the Hull bus company

News broke of the Aunt Bessie’s sale in Hull earlier in June.

The company employs around 400 people, and is based in Freightliner Road.

Aunt Bessie’s started making frozen Yorkshire puddings in 1974 as Tryton Foods.

The brand was created in 1995, and today 20 million Yorkshire puddings are made in Hull every week.

The sale is valued at around £210m, but William Jackson Food Group has now added Wellocks to its booming portfolio.

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