Football and leisure market food manufacturer Wrights Food Group has appointed a new managing director as it continues to expand the business into new markets.
The food manufacturing specialist which supplies savoury products to more than one third of UK football league clubs as well as savoury and sweet bakery products and ready meals to some of the UK’s leading retail, leisure and foodservice operators, has appointed Ian Dobbie into the new role from this month.
Dobbie is an experienced board director having held a 20-year role as UK managing director and then CEO of global bakery business the Délifrance group, specialising in the supply of frozen bake-off products. He has also held senior positions at Associated British Foods, CPC / Bestfoods and Northern Foods.
The appointment follows a period of significant change for Wrights Food Group which saw the business sustain its core foodservice supply, increase retail sales by 20% - including a new seasonal range with Marks & Spencer - and introduce food to go vending machine sub brand Urban Bistro.
Working alongside the company’s chairman Peter Wright and the board of directors, Dobbie will focus on further growth across all trade channels and developing a strategic plan for the next stage of business expansion.
Dobbie said: “While this is a challenging time for all businesses, it is also immensely exciting as we build on almost a century of Wrights food production across our multiple site business which has the capacity to grow alongside the agility to innovate and move quickly on customer briefs.
“Developing new partnerships and launching new lines has been a key focus of the last 12 months and I’m keen to lead the team in further strategic growth while continuing to invest in and perfect our NPD to introduce even more first-to-market products.”
Wrights Food Group supplies its pies to a third of all clubs in the Football League ensuring that, during normal circumstances, pies are delivered at stadiums before kick off. The Wrights range includes meat & potato and chicken & mushroom pies and its steak & ale and Balti pies are among its in-stadium, football season best-sellers.
Commenting on the new role within the business, chairman Peter Wright, added: “As an established food manufacturer we are growing, evolving and entering new markets. Ian’s appointment marks a new chapter in almost a century of producing quality ‘family favourites’ for foodservice, retail and food to go markets and I know Ian is absolutely the right person to maximise the many opportunities that are open to us.”
The Wrights Food Group operates with a team of 600 across two sites in Crewe and includes 15 high street stores across the North West. It produces sweet bakery and more than three million savoury products per week for the foodservice, bakery and the retail sectors.