Suffolk sauce maker’s jobs boost as demand for products soars

PUBLISHED: 13:53 08 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:53 08 July 2019

Stokes sauces coming through the production line  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Stokes sauces coming through the production line Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A Suffolk sauces firm is boosting its manufacturing capacity and creating 10 new jobs after clinching a £450k funding package.

Stokes Sauces in bottles - they are now also available in 'squeezy' bottles  Picture: RUTH LEACHStokes Sauces in bottles - they are now also available in 'squeezy' bottles Picture: RUTH LEACH

Stokes Sauces, based at Rendlesham, near Woodbridge, has doubled its capacity by extending its production and launched new recyclable packaging as demand for its products grow.

It makes condiments including ketchup, chutney and jam for major brands in more than 50 countries worldwide, including Waitrose and Sainsbury's in the UK.

It has also expanded its existing product range with a new line of recyclable 'squeezy' bottles and introduced a new reduced sugar product.

The firm, which exports more than 15% of its sauces overseas, has invested in new machinery including a steam cooking system, labelling machine and a capping machine.

Stokes sauces on the production line  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNStokes sauces on the production line Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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The six-figure funding package, which forms part of Lloyds Bank's commitment to lend £1.7bn to businesses in the East of England, will also help the firm create 10 new jobs over the next 12 months, and increase its annual turnover by a quarter to £8.75m.

The firm's commercial finance director Chris Reeves said the new recyclable 'squeezy' bottles had been very well received, tapping into customer demand for convenience.

"This range was made possible due to our new processing plant, which has doubled our capacity by improving efficiency and production, as well as helping us add a range of new flavours to our product range," he said.

"With the financing options provided by Lloyds Bank, we had the financial backing we needed to be able to invest in the specialist machines as quickly as possible, which has in turn given us a solid platform for growth over the next 12 months."

Jonathan Hirst, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: "We're committed to standing by the side of businesses, which is why we support ambitious companies like Stokes Sauces. The business has a track record of strong growth and we look forward to helping it on the next phase of its expansion plans. "Stokes sauces is an excellent local brand with growing popularity. The business is flying the flag for the East of England both nationally and internationally, and the coming months look to be a very exciting time for the team."

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