Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Pork Farms

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Pork Farms is a Nottingham-based British producer and distributor of mainly pork-based bakery products.

In the early 1940s, baker Ken Parr took out a £9,000 loan to set up his own pie shop. He developed a reputation founded on good baking, and developed the first "original" pork pie based on an old recipe, with signature dark and crispy pastry. He then bought another local pie shop, founded in 1931 which traded under the name Pork Farms, which he adopted for all shops after that.

In the mid-1960s, Parr's business was bought by food tycoon Willard Garfield Weston, who made Parr Chairman.

1969 rival Nottingham pie company T. N. Parr, formerly owned by Parr’s uncle but then by Samworth Brothers, bought out Pork Farms, again bringing together the two companies together under the Pork Farms brand.

1971, the group was floated on the London Stock Exchange as Pork Farms Ltd.

1972, Pork Farms bought rival Holland's Pies.

1974 Pork Farms and Northern Foods created joint venture company Porkdown, 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-based products line, closed down the contract. The resultant losses closed Porkdown.

1978 This led to the agreed sale of Pork Farms to Northern Foods, after the Samworth family sold their shares[1]

Pork Farms was merged by Northern with Palethorpes of Market Drayton and Bowyers of Trowbridge, Wiltshire, to form Pork Farms Bowyers

2001 the company sold the Bowyers and Palethorpes pork sausage business and brands to the Kerry Group to concentrate on baked meat products.

Bought by Vision Capital in 2007, with European Union laws focusing on the need to produce Melton Mowbray Pork Pies within a defined distance of Melton Mowbray, the company chose to close the Trowbridge plant and invest £12 million into the Nottingham plant to increase Melton Mowbray Pork Pie production. Today the company employs over 2,000 people at four locations, in Nottingham, Market Drayton and Shaftesbury.

Pork Farms has doubled the capacity of their data capture system at their Queens Drive manufacturing site and all quality paperwork has now been removed from the production process. CCP, QC and QA results are electronically captured and monitored by their data capture system.

Pork Farms is marking its 80th anniversary with a £1m relaunch and a new range of slices. The new packaging is designed to flag up the company's heritage it carries the straplines 'Making & Baking since 1931' and 'Butchers, Bakers, Master Piemakers'

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, May 09, 1978