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|Headquarters||Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire & Callington, Cornwall, United Kingdom|
Group Holdings Board
Group Executive Board
|Products||Meat products, Melton Mowbray Pork pies, Sandwiches, Deserts, Ready meals|
Number of employees
|Subsidiaries||Ginsters, Walker & Son, Dickinson & Morris, Soreen and SCI-MX Nutrition|
Samworth Brothers are a Leicestershire-based food manufacturer, the owner of Cornish pasty maker Ginsters, and the largest maker of certified Melton Mowbray pork pies. It is listed at number four in The Times Top Track 250.
George Samworth was born in 1868, and after joining a group of Birmingham-based pig buyers started his own pig dealing business in 1896. After his retirement in 1930, his sons Frank and George took over the business. The business collapsed in the period of meat rationing of World War II, but in 1950 Frank bought Nottingham based butchery and pie makers TN Parr. In 1969, the company bought local Nottinghamshire rival Pork Farms from W. Garfield Weston and Jai Law, which doubled the size of the business overnight. Frank decided to retire, leaving the business to his sons, with David as Chairman, while Frank Jr. and John Samworth were senior Directors. In 1971, the group was floated on the London Stock Exchange as Pork Farms plc, and in 1972 bought rival Holland's Pies.
In 1974, Pork Farms and Northern Foods created joint venture company Porkdown Ltd, to supply meat products to French foods group Danone. But immediately after production started, Danone undertook a group wide-review, and on deciding to concentrate on their milk products line, closed down the contract. The resultant losses closed Porkdown, and in 1978 lead to the agreed sale of Pork Farms to Northern Foods, after the Samworth family agreed sale of their shares to the group.
Separately, in 1977, John Samworth had left the business after his purchase of the Ginsters Cornish pasties business from the Ginsters family, under his holding company Goran Foods Ltd. In 1985 the name of the Goran Foods was changed to Samworth Brothers, to reflect the involvement of John and David Samworth.
In 1986, Samworth Brothers purchased Cobden Street, Leicester-based Walker & Son Ltd. Having sold their crisps business Walkers in 1971 to US-based Standard Brands, their pie making business was now the largest distributor of Melton Mowbray pork pies. This was added to in 1992 after the purchase of the fire-destroyed Melton Mowbray based pie maker Dickinson & Morris, which was refurbished in a traditional style.
Samworth Brothers today are both a multi-line food manufacturer covering:
- Meat products - a range of own-brand sausage products made by Walkers Midshire
- Sandwiches - after Tesco approached the business in 1993, they opened the Walkers Charnwood owned Bradgate Bakery to produce own-label sandwiches for a variety of supermarkets. This was supplemented in 1994 by the establishment of the Ginsters sandwich range. Further added to in 1998 with the opening of the Melton Foods bakery, and in 2006 with the opening of the Sandwich Centre to provide van-based distribution into central London
- Ready Meals - produced by Tamar Foods, Kettleby Foods and Brooksby Foods
- Desserts - Kensey Foods in Launceston and Blueberry Foods produce ambient and chilled desserts
- Saladworks - conceived as a filling-production facility, it now also produces own brand ready-meals
After John retired in 2002, and David in 2005, the business is now chaired by non-family member Nick Linney.
National Living Wage debate
Since the introduction of a National Living Wage in April 2016, Samworth Brothers have come under widespread criticism for removing premium pay rates in order to pay the new minimum wage. As Joan Ryan, Labour Party MP for Enfield North, stated in parliament:
Bradgate Bakery is part of the group [Samworth Brothers] that owns famous brands that we all enjoy, such as Ginsters pies and Soreen loaf, but the pay that it is offering staff is a lot less tasty than its food. Bradgate has written to all its Leicestershire staff, detailing changes to their wages. Most shop-floor employees at Bradgate were earning just over £6.70 an hour before 1 April, so the introduction of the national living wage should have made quite a difference for them, but Bradgate, like B&Q, has found an opportunity to save money.
[Bradgate] has changed staff terms and conditions to phase out double pay for Sundays by 2019. That means that while employees on the national minimum wage earned £13.78 per hour on a Sunday last month, by 2019 they will earn just £9 per hour. That is the national living wage according to Bradgate Bakery. Extra pay for night shifts, Saturdays and overtime are also being scaled back. In sum, Bradgate workers are being sold a lie: they are told that their pay is increasing, but what the Government are giving with one hand, Bradgate is taking with another. According to one very worried worker who approached my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham and Morden, these cuts will affect the whole range of shifts that run in the factories. That means that by 2018 a production operative on night shift will be paid £2,778 less a year, while a night shift team leader will be paid £344 less.
Despite this, Samworth Brothers director Mark Samworth was invited to one of the Conservative Party's "leaders' group meals" between January and March, according to documents released by the party and analysed by the Morning Star. These "cash-for-access" meals require a minimum payment of £50,000 to the Conservative Party.
- BSA Award: David Samworth (2007)
- Sandwich Manufacturer of the Year: 1995/1996 (Joint with Toft Foods); 1998 (Joint with Gibsons); 1999, 2007
- "OUR LEADERSHIP". Samworth Brothers. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
- National Living Wage Debate, 18 April 2016. Volume 608
- James, Luke (27 May 2016). "Tories wine and dine boss who cut staff pay". Morning Star. People's Press Printing Society. p. 2. Retrieved 29 May 2016.