Artisan bakery acquisition

David Wood Baking has announced the purchase of European artisan bakery La Fornaia from Maple Leaf Baking UK, in an undisclosed deal.

La Fornaia currently operates from a 54,000sq ft bakery in Park Royal, London, producing brands including La Fornaia and Ryvita Thins as well ‘top end’ own label products for national retailers. The company bakes a wide range of premium quality and hand-crafted breads, with annual sales of about £45m, to major stores and foodservice firms across the UK and Europe.

The West London bakery becomes the sixth facility in the David Wood chain – taking its place alongside bakeries in Sheerness, Scarborough, Dudley, Workington and Peter Hunt’s in Bolton – as the group continues an aggressive acquisition strategy that has seen it grow from a standing start to consistent double-digit sales and revenue growth over the past five years.

Commenting on the purchase, David Wood, managing director of David Wood Baking, says: “We are delighted to have a chance to work with La Fornaia’s fantastic and innovative products and top-class people, and we are keen to grow and move this business forward.

“We definitely see a strong future in the artisan bakery sector as people turn to speciality breads, such as focaccia, ciabatta and panini, which is why we are keen to increase our footprint in this area of the bakery business. La Fornaia’s pure hand-crafted, Italian-style speciality breads are the perfect addition to our group, and the acquisition is in keeping with the massive investment we have made in our artisan facilities at the bakery in Dudley.”

The deal will see all staff retained at the La Fornaia bakery, bringing the total number of people on the David Wood payroll to over 780.

James Street, David Wood Baking’s head of commercial development and marketing, adds: “Since selling his stake in Country Style Foods, David has shown an impressive ability to buy bakeries and transform them into highly successful businesses. His un-erring passion for baking and his hands-on approach to management have become his trademark, and we are already working to make changes at La Fornaia that will benefit both the staff and the business.

We’re also working closely with a number of customers to launch new and innovative products to the market, and I’m looking forward to taking our artisan bakery products to new heights and developing the David Wood brand even further as a result of this latest acquisition.”


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