Nick Herbert visits Kate's Cakes
Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert paid a visit to Kate's Cakes near Ashington on Friday afternoon (22 February).
Mr Herbert was given a briefing on the business by Operations Director Tim Breden, before being taken on a tour of the site. Mr Herbert took the opportunity to meet staff on the factory floor and saw how the cakes are prepared, mixed, baked, decorated and packaged.
Mr Herbert also met with Senior Manager (Unit 3) Nishant Fatania, Support Services Manager Paul Huddlestone, Human Resources Director Helen Sheriff and Personal Assistant Sue Parmenter.
Kate's Cakes was established in 1989 and employs over 500 staff. It has a factory site of 70,000 square feet and is located close to the A24. The site uses 'green energy' to power its operation, taking electricity from the North Sea Wind Farm.
The firm makes a variety of products including cake slices, brownies, flapjacks, muffins, biscotti, cookies and shortbread. They use locally sourced ingredients and do not add artificial colourings or preservatives. They supply a range of low fat, diary-free, gluten-free and wheat-free products.
Products are sold in selected outlets across the UK and parts of Europe, including Marks and Spencer, Waitrose, Starbucks and Virgin Trains. They can also be purchased online.
In August last year, Kate's Cakes was taken over by Dutch firm CSM NV, the owners of Wirral based BakeMark UK. CSM have an annual turnover of around £3 billion and employ 8,600 staff in 22 countries.
Kate's Cakes was named 'Company of the Year' in the Sussex Business Awards 2007-2008. At the awards, held in November last year, Managing Director Steve Greenhalgh won the title 'Sussex Business Person of the Year'.
On Sunday last (17 February), a Kate's Cakes team led by Tim Breden raised money for The Chestnut Tree Children's Hospice by running the Brighton Half Marathon.
Tim Breden said: "Whilst we are very proud of what we do and what we have achieved it is also very rewarding to have someone so time-limited take such an interest. For Nick to take the time out to really delve into and understand our business and the issues we face in such detail was great and so much better than a visit for visit's sake."
Nick Herbert commented: "I was delighted to visit such a successful local business and interested to hear how it has grown. It was also great to see a company with a strong sense of their responsibilities towards the environment.
"I hadn't appreciated that Kate's Cakes supply quite a few of the cakes sold by stores like M&S and Waitrose - I must admit to buying quite a few of them! They're also in our canteen in the House of Commons.
"I don't think I would be employed as a cake maker, though - the one I tried to ice had to go for emergency repairs afterwards."
Notes for Editors
1. For the website of Kate's Cakes, visit http://www.katescakes.com/