BAKERS Fletchers is on a roll after Sheffield MP David Blunkett helped unveil a new £7 million plant at its Wadsley Bridge site.
The plant houses two production lines that will make fresh and frozen white, brown and seeded bread rolls for retail and food service customers, which include pubs, schools, councils, fast food outlets, restaurants and bars.
Fletchers has also built a new cold store and dispatch area and created a new entrance and staff car parks as part of the investment, funded by a multi-million pound sale of vacant land to supermarket Sainsbury’s.
Mr Blunkett joined 65-year-old Gordon Maclean, who recently retired after working for Fletchers for 49 years. for the opening ceremony.
The Brightside and Hillsborough MP said: “I was very proud to join Gordon in opening the new facility. I also hope this state-of-the-art development can be seen as a sign of further economic recovery and job security for the Hillsborough area and the wider city region.”
Mr Maclean started work at the bakery when he was 15. He said: “This new plant is extraordinary when I think back to my early years. Everything we produced then was dispatched on wooden trays which you wouldn’t be able to use in a modern facility.
“We also made more confectionery, cakes and custards, most of it hand-made, or at least hand-finished.
“I think it’s marvellous to see the factory investing in a new production facility after so many years. It was an honour for me to come back and open this new facility.”
The new development, which hasn’t led to the creation of any new jobs, follows the revitalisation of the Fletchers group which also includes LBD in Barnsley.
The company was making operating losses of almost £10 million five years ago - but recorded a £600,000 operating profit in the last financial year.
Sixty per cent of Fletchers’ sales are to retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer.