Grand plans for Colchester healthy food company

Anglia Crown new directors. Left to right: Andrew Lone, Paul Howell. Picture: Andrew Mardell

Anglia Crown new directors. Left to right: Andrew Lone, Paul Howell. Picture: Andrew Mardell - Credit: Archant

Anglia Crown, a Colchester-based subsidiary of the food giant Bakkavor, has been sold to its management team for an undisclosed sum, and its new owners are now keen to channel the business into new directions.

Anglia Crown’s Spanish Chicken. Picture: Anglia Crown

Anglia Crowns Spanish Chicken. Picture: Anglia Crown - Credit: Archant

Since the company’s inception 25 years ago, Anglia Crown has specialised in manufacturing chilled and frozen prepared meals for the healthcare sector, but the company’s new owners, Paul Howell and Andrew Lone, are keen to expand their offering.

Mr Howell explained: “We have some very exciting and aggressive development plans. As well as healthcare, we want to now focus on leisure, travel, hospitality, business and industry markets. Because we supply our food to the healthcare industry, our products are healthy - they’re lower in salt, for example - and we we are keen to tap into the current drive for healthier food.”

Anglia Crown currently employs 170 to 180 staff, who apart from a small commercial team, are all based in Colchester at the firm’s distribution unit and office in Colchester Business Park. “We would like to take on new staff in Colchester, its in the pipeline, but is dependent on how the business develops,” said Mr Howell. “We are very much a Colchester company, and have been for the last 25 years,”said Mr Howell, who lives in Bristol. “I’ve had a long commute lately to Colchester, but in the future, Andrew will be more Colchester office-based and I will be out in the field, driving business development.”

Anglia Crown also plan to retain their business base in healthcare.

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Last April, they won a £30m five-year contract with facilities service provider ISS to supply its chilled and frozen prepared meals to hospitals including the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Kingston Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, London. “ISS are very important customers to us,” said Mr Howell.

Anglia Crown works with suppliers including Heygates millers in Downham Market, Parripak’s British potatoes and Fourayes fruit farm in Kent. The company’s Crown Advantage range of healthcare food, which is marketed to care home caterers, is the only prepared meal for the healthcare market with a removable base.

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In a statement, Bakkavor, who are headquartered in Spalding, said Anglia Crown was deemed “non-core” to the group and had revenues representing less than 1% of its total sales. The group employs nearly 19,000 people worldwide, manufacturing more than 5,000 different products across 18 categories.

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