|Headquarters||Bolton, Lancashire (now Greater Manchester)
|Key people||Thomas Warburton, Founder Jonathan Warburton, Chairman|
|Products||Bread and other bakery goods|
|Owner(s)||The Warburton Family (100%)|
Warburtons is a British baking firm founded by Thomas Warburton in 1876 and based in Bolton, a town formerly in Lancashire that is now situated in Greater Manchester, England. For much of its history Warburtons only had bakeries in Lancashire and it remains a family-owned company.
The company embarked on a large expansion program in the late 1990s which continued in the 2000s and it has grown across the United Kingdom after being relatively unheard of outside the Bolton and Manchester area. The company has a 24% share of the UK bread market compared with 2% when it was based in Bolton. Warburtons is the most popular bread in Lancashire with a 45% market share compared with a 15% share in London.
The Warburtons brand is the most popular bread in the United Kingdom, ahead of rivals Kingsmill and Hovis, a position it has held since 2008. Overall, Warburtons products are the second-best selling food and drink brand in the UK after Coca Cola and ahead of famous British brands such as Cadburys and Walkers.
Ellen and Thomas Warburton bought a small grocery shop in Bolton in 1876. The business grew and Thomas' nephew Henry joined the business when he was 16 and became a skilled baker by the age of 25. New technology drove the business forward and Henry continued to expand the business. The location of the bakery was moved four times in 25 years finishing with the opening of Back o'th' Bank Bakery opened by Rachael Warburton in July 1915. Henry became involved in local affairs within the community and stood as a Liberal candidate. He became mayor of Bolton. Henry Warburton died in 1936.
Warburtons grew with the purchase of several smaller companies in North west England.
Production of bread was based in Bolton for much of the company's history after it was founded by Thomas Warburton. Bread made in Bolton meant by the time it was transported to locations in southern England the bread would have lost its freshness. Demand increased from national retailers such as Tesco, Asda and Sainsburys. In the late 1990s the company embarked on an expansion programme and opened new plants at Eastwood in Nottinghamshire, Bellshill and Wednesbury. Warburtons moved into Scotland in 1996 and by 2003 the company had a 32% share of the Scottish bread market, just seven years after entering the Scottish market.
In October 2003, HRH the Duke of Edinburgh opened Warburtons eleventh bakery in Enfield, North London. In 2004, Warburtons increased production in Scotland with the completion of Bellshill, phase two. Rathbones Bakeries, based in Walsall, went into administration in April 2005, and Warburtons bought a bakery at Stockton-on-Tees just off the A66 near Preston-on-Tees in January 2005, and another bakery at Rogerstone near the A467 at Newport in November 2005. A £60m 12-acre (49,000 m2) super bakery in Normanton, West Yorkshire opened in March 2006, the largest bakery in Europe. Other bakeries outside of the Lancashire area are in Newburn for Newcastle-upon-Tyne next to the A6085 and River Tyne.
In 2010, the company announced the closure of its Newport facility, however retained a distribution depot at Port Talbot to continue service to the South Wales market. Production was transferred to a new, state of the art, multi-million pound plant in Bristol. The lease on the Newport plant was ceded to Brace's Bakery.
Warburtons make five categories of products: Bread, Rolls, Bakery Snacks (including crumpets and potato cakes), Gluten Free and Weight Watchers.
Warburtons' staple products include the orange-wrappered Toastie loaf, the blue-wrappered Medium loaf and the green-wrappered Thickest loaf, all of which are wrapped in wax paper.
- Siburn, Jonathan (4 April 2010). "Jonathan Warburton: baking a living". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
- "Warburtons announces expansion into Kent". 21 April 2008. Retrieved 4 June 2011. "It employs nearly 5,000 people and produces over 14 million bakery products every week."
- "A family firm that blows its own trumpet". BBC. 7 March 2007. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- Teather, Daniel (8 April 2010). "http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/apr/08/fridayinterview-jonathan-warburton". Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- "Warburtons launches battle of the bakers with £22m campaign". The Times. 6 October 2008.
- "Coke Still Fizzing As Smoothies Rocket". Sky News. 3 March 2008. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- Barry, Chris (6 December 2002). "Warburtons in £30m south east expansion". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- "Bakery toasts expansion plan". BBC News. 27 October 2003. Retrieved 6 June 2011.
- "Brace's Confirms Purchase of Warburtons' Site At Rogerstone, Newport". Brace's Bakery. 14 February 2011. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
- Interview with Jonathan Warburton in 2007
- The cost of bread
- Wednesbury bakery opens in 2001
- Tuscany Park bakery opens in 2006