Family firm East End Foods is sponsoring a Birmingham Post Business Award at the end of the year which has seen it defy economic gloom by investing in one of the largest privately-funded developments in the region.
Midland firm East End Foods, which is currently redeveloping the former HP Factory site in Aston Cross, is sponsoring the hospitality category in this year’s awards.
The scheme will also see a 100,000 sq ft cash and carry, a hotel and a conference centre built, as well as a 30,000 sq ft urban farm and technology centre built,
The first phase, which is nearing completion, will see 90 jobs created with a £10.5 million investment in a state-of-the-art trade-only cash and carry.
And it is fitting that the company is sponsoring the hospitality sector with phase two on the horizon, which will see a further £25 million investment in creating the hotel and banqueting part of the development.
The second phase is expected to create a further 200 plus jobs in the city
East End Foods was established more than four decades ago and has grown into one of the UK’s leading spice, lentil and rice specialist consisting of a 1,250 lines containing rice, flour, beans, lentils, nuts and much more.
It has grown to turn over in excess of £125 million on the back of the philosophy adopted by its founders, the Wouhra brothers, who spotted a gap in the food market after seeing a growing demand in the 1950s and lack of availability of ethnic food products and never looked back.
Tony Deep Wouhra, the founder of the family business, said it has profited from focusing on quality, purity and value.
He said: “As a company our quality sets us apart, we have set precedents in the need to supply clean and safe products to the market.
“Setting these standards in the early days helped guide us to delivering superior products to the customers, developing a loyal customer following.
“The constant strive for purity and a value for money product has led to constant reinvestment in plant machinery, producing vigorous cleaning processes for all our products.”
The firm has four sites across Birmingham, including a head office in West Bromwich, which was purchased in 2002 and serves as its main distribution and processing centre. From there it supplies to all of the country’s major supermarkets.
The company has made significant progress in reenergising the tired landscape of the discarded HP Sauce Factory in the past year.
The flagship store is nearing completion and is due to open in late 2011 and the new state of the art cash and carry will incorporate an urban farm – the first of its kind in the Midlands.
Mr Wouhra added: “The urban food farm is for visitors to come and see food growing.
“The purpose of which is to show how easy it is to grow food in an urban environment, educating the public on sustainability. The urban farm uses renewable energy as much as possible; using waste from the cash and carry to go into a biomass heater in the urban farm.
“As well as harvesting rain water to be used on the crops.
“Phase two of the re development of the HP site will see the creation of a 15-storey four-star luxury hotel and 1,200-person capacity conference centre, spanning a further £25 million worth of investment. This in turn will create further 200 jobs in the local area.”
East End Foods is active in an ever growing European market which currently accounts for 10 per cent of turnover.
Mr Wouhra added: “The company has been able to initiate growth consistently in the last decade from using innovation to battle the market adversity.
“From the outset of the first generation we found it important to view this as the way forward. Innovation is something that is at the heart of East End Foods constantly researching ground breaking ways to improve our products, our areas of business and our revenue.”