Duck specialist snaps up second Smithfield Market business

Brothers William and Geoff Buchanan, owners of Gressingham Group

Brothers William and Geoff Buchanan, owners of Gressingham Group, are delighted after snapping up another Smithfield Market business - Credit: Jemma Watts Photography

A fast-expanding East Anglian food business has snapped up another company for an undisclosed sum.

Family-owned Gressingham Group, based at Debach, near Woodbridge, has a factory complex at Redgrave and specialises in duck dishes.

It has now bought up the Peter Thompson Group, a poultry specialist with a shop at Smithfield Market in London.

Gressingham – which has a turnover of £157m and a 650-strong workforce – is run by brothers William and Geoff Buchanan. 

They took over the running of the business from parents Maurice and Miriam who founded it in 1971.

Over the past 14 years, the group has snapped up Kerry Foods, Manor farm Ducks, Reids and £45m turnover JF Edwards, which employs 55 people and is also based at Smithfields.

Third generation business Peter Thompson Group – which employs 25 staff and has a turnover of £44m – also has an office in southern Ireland. 

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It sells a wide variety of chicken cuts and beef and pork from its market shop which has been based at Smithfield Market since 1954. It runs a thriving business-to-business wholesale operation supplying poultry cuts to retailers and hospitality groups in both the United Kingdom and Europe.

The latest acquisition will work closely with JF Edwards – which was bought four years ago by Gressingham Group and is well-established at Smithfields.

Stuart Thompson will step down as managing director of Peter Thompson after 40 years at the helm but will still be involved in the business. 

He is succeeded by Stephen Barber who will manage the two businesses on the market.

Gressingham Foods group director William Buchanan welcomed the latest acquisition for the business.

“We are delighted to bring The Peter Thompson Group under the Gressingham Foods umbrella,” he said. 

“Peter Thompson Group has an excellent reputation and this purchase complements our existing presence in Smithfield Market.”

Gressingham rears and processes duck from Red Tractor assured farms, as well as turkeys and geese for Christmas.

The brothers joined the business after studying agriculture and working for other companies. Their parents moved to Suffolk from Northern Ireland.