BBF, the UK’s leading manufacturer of own label, licensed and branded ambient cakes and desserts, is pleased to announce a new £40m financing facility with Wells Fargo Capital Finance (‘WFCF’) to support future growth plans.

BBF serves all the UK’s most recognisable food retailers such as Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda, M&S, Aldi and Lidl. With manufacturing facilities in Blackburn, Bradford and Poland, BBF last year complemented the Group’s facilities with the acquisition of Greencore PLC’s ambient cake and chilled desserts division headquartered from a large, modern bakery in Hull.

As a result of the acquisition, annual Group revenues have risen to over £150m, with over 2,000 people employed over the five sites.

BBF, led by CEO Jonathan Lill, has been owned by the leading transformational private equity investor, Endless LLP, since 2015 during which time significant investment has seen strong revenue growth and new customer engagement. The new three-year financing facility not only provides day-to-day working capital for the enlarged Group but provides headroom to enable further capital investment into manufacturing facilities.

FRP Advisory in Manchester provided Debt Advisory advice to Endless and BBF.

Jonathan Lill, CEO of BBF commented:

“The facility provided by Wells Fargo gives the business extra firepower to make further investment in all of our manufacturing sites and to deliver on our strategic growth plans. Wells demonstrated great appetite throughout the process to support the business and we’re excited to have secured this new funding facility.”

Tom Weedall, Director of Loan Originations, WFCF UK commented:

“Leveraging Wells Fargo’s platform, we are delighted to work with BBF. This funding facility will support their future working capital and growth requirements. Also, our tailored solution will enable BBF to continue to provide the highest level of service and award-winning products to their customers.”

Andy Pickford, Director Debt Advisory at FRP Advisory in Manchester, added:

“BBF is a high quality, market leading business, owned by a private equity sponsor that is at the forefront of investment into UK mid-market corporates. We are delighted to have been mandated by them to advise on this important financing. Pleasingly, there was significant interest from the finance community for this transaction, and the terms offered and underwritten by the team at Wells Fargo will now allow the management team at BBF to execute their exciting three-year plan.”

Cakes produced by BBF have taken all five top spots in the Tried and Tested Christmas Cake category in this year’s Under the Christmas Tree taste tests.

The UK’s biggest website dedicated to all things festive, Under the Christmas Tree awarded Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Falling Leaves Iced Fruit Cake, produced by BBF, a perfect score of 10 out of 10 seeing it take first place. Judges commended the cake for its “soft, delicious and in proportion” layers of sweet icing and marzipan and plump juicy fruits soaked in brandy giving it a “very festive and warming feel”.

In close second with a score of 9 was Aldi’s Specially Selected Luxury Iced Christmas Cake, again produced by BBF, which was deemed a “showstopper” by the judges and highly praised for its “fusion of orange, apricot, cranberries and nuts” making it the “perfect all-rounder”.

The Tesco Finest Rich Fruit Cake with Oak Aged Cognac placed third with a score of 8.5, Asda’s Extra Special 3 month Matured Brandy Iced Fruit Cake came fourth scoring 7.5 and the Lidl Deluxe luxury Christmas cake took fifth spot with a respectable 7 out of 10.

Jonathan Lill, BBF CEO, commented:

“The build up to Christmas is one of the busiest times of year for us and it is essential that the products we send out are of the very highest quality. To receive this kind of praise and recognition for our Christmas products is amazing and a testament to the tireless dedication and enthusiasm of our team to consistently deliver the highest quality produce.”

BBF were also successful in the Christmas Tried and Tested Mince Pies category, producing five of the top six mince pies for Tesco, Asda, Iceland, Lidl and Marks & Spencer.

Tesco’s Finest All Butter Pastry Deep Filled Mince Pies took the top spot, scoring another perfect ten for BBF with a “perfect balance of sweetness and spice”. The Tesco pies have also been recognised in iNews’ 14 best mince pies to buy for Christmas 2018 with the M&S Collection Mince Pies, also produced by BBF, receiving a mention as well.

Under the Christmas Tree awarded Asda’s Extra Special All-Butter Luxury Mince Pies second place with a score of 9. The same pies recently took the top spot in this year’s Which? mince pie taste test.

Close on Asda’s tail in third place with a score of 8.5 were Iceland’s Luxury Mince Pies which have also received praise from The Independent in their list of the 12 best mince pies this year.

Cakes produced by BBF have won Best Christmas Cake and Highly Commended Christmas Cake in this year’s eagerly anticipated BBC Good Food Christmas Taste Awards.

Deeming taste and flavour the most important criteria, an expert panel from BBC Good Food spent five days tasting more than 160 products from 11 national supermarkets to reveal the very best food and drink products on offer this Christmas.

In the Christmas Cake category, cakes were judged on the criteria of ‘A traditional Christmas cake, decorated or iced and ready to serve’. The winning cake, Morrisons’ The Best Poinsettia Christmas cake, produced by BBF, was praised for its “delicate gingerbread flavour” and “impressive sugar decorations and gold sparkle” making it an “elegant addition to the table”.

Taking the crown of Highly Commended Christmas Cake was Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Falling Leaves Iced Fruit Cake, also produced by BBF. The judging panel commended the cake for its “sweet and almondy” layer of marzipan, “gold ivy-leaf detail” and “chunky plump fruit with whole cherries and almond”.

The Sainsbury’s cake has also received high praise elsewhere, taking first place in the Tried and Tested Christmas Cake category in this year’s Under the Christmas Tree taste test.

Jonathan Lill, BBF CEO, said:

“The BBC Good Food Christmas Taste Awards are leading awards in the food industry, so to have taken both prizes in their Christmas Cake category shows that our products really are some of the very best on the market.

This is like an early Christmas present for everyone at BBF – we’re over the moon!”

The judging panel was made up of members of the cookery hub, review and digital editorial teams, with the judging overseen by an independent adjudicator who compiled the results and feedback.

Mince pies produced by BBF have taken five of the top six spots in this year’s Which? mince pie taste test.

Four respected bakers formed the judging panel, blind tasting more than more than 100 premium mince pies from 11 UK supermarkets, in search of the best mince pies on the market this Christmas.

Asda’s Extra Special All-Butter Luxury Mince Pies, produced by BBF, took the top spot, with judges declaring a winning formula of “heavy fruiting combined with subtle spicing” and “a lovely, buttery aroma”.

Currently priced at just £1.50 for a box of six, the Asda pies received a 71% score, with the panel scoring each pie out of 40 for taste, 20 for aroma, 20 for texture and 20 for appearance.

Close on Asda’s tail were Lidl with their Deluxe Luxury Mince Pies, also produced by BBF, which received a score of 69%. A box of six costs £1.79 and judges were impressed by the textures of the mincemeat, the crisp pastry and an overall “pleasantly fruity taste”.

A number of other BBF-produced mince pies pleased the judges’ pallets. Iceland took third spot with a score of 67% for their Luxury Mince Pies, M&S’ The Collection Mince Pies came fourth with 64% and Tesco Finest Mince Pies placed sixth with a score of 62% – all of which were produced in BBF factories.

In fact, the only pie in the top six not produced by BBF were The Best Deep Filled Mince Pies from Morrison’s which came fifth with a score of 63%.
The success follows news earlier this month that that BBF were awarded best Christmas cake and best celebration cake at the annual Quality Food Awards.
Commenting on the recent success, Jonathan Lill, BBF CEO, said:

“With Christmas fast approaching, it’s fantastic to see so many of our mince pies receiving such high praise. To have taken five of the top six spots is a testament to the high quality of our mince pies. We set very high standards for everything we do to ensure we remain at the top of the industry and it is rewarding to see this reflected in an independent assessment of our produce.”

The judging panel comprised of Dan Lepard, award-winning baker, food writer and broadcaster; Charlotte Marrifield, owner of Harrogate Cake Company; Kathryn Roberts, general manager of Bread Ahead bakery; and Patrick Moore, founder of More?, The Artisan Bakery and Cafe, Cumbria.

Cakes produced by BBF have been awarded top spot in two prominent categories at the prestigious Quality Food Awards 2018.

Running for almost 40 years, the annual Quality Food Awards recognise and reward the very best food and drink products available across the UK. Lidl’s Winter Wonderland Cake was named best Christmas cake, with Asda’s Cookies and Cream cake coming out on top in the celebration cake category.

The cakes, both produced at BBF’s bakeries, were awarded first place by a panel of independent industry experts following a rigorous judging process. Asda’s Unicorn Cake, also baked by BBF, received commendation from the judges, who provided written feedback on every entry, making for a transparent process.

In further award success for BBF, Sainsbury’s Stolen Mince Pies were named Best Buy 2018 by Woman&Home Magazine, with the magazine stating “If you’re both a stolen and a mince pie fan, you’ll fall in love with these.”

Commenting on the awards success, Jonathan Lill, BBF CEO, said: “The Quality Food Awards are highly respected within the industry and amongst consumers. As a supplier to the UK’s leading retailers, we pride ourselves on the quality of our products and it’s fantastic to see our efforts rewarded by such prestigious awards.”

“As BBF continues to grow exponentially, awards success such as this helps to demonstrate the amazing work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure we continue to deliver first-class produce at all times.”

The winning cakes will now be able to feature the famous blue Q logo on packs, an independently verified mark of quality that many consumers look out for. The results of the Quality Food Awards can be viewed here

Q Award winner 2018