New member profile: The British Premium Sausage Company
Ian Cundell and Andy Dalton are the brains (and much of the brawn) behind The British Premium Sausage Company. As one of the newest members of National Craft Butchers we were keen to catch up with them to find out more about this rapidly expanding company.
Both Ian and Andy have been involved in the meat industry all their working lives. Andy founded the meat wholesaler, Browns Foodservice, which he sold to Brake Bros in 2010, whilst Ian was managing director of Russell Hume’s northern operations until 2009. They met through mutual friends and both felt there was a gap in the foodservice market for a good quality sausage, capable of being produced in volume. Shortly afterwards they bought a small manufacturing facility in Bradford. Fast forward thirteen years and they are now directors of a company with a £12m turnover, manufacturing out of three production sites.
Although primarily a foodservice supplier, the company also supplied Asda and Tesco with sausages during Covid when both retailers were struggling to keep the shelves full and hospitality and travel had all but shut down. Once hospitality opened back up though, Andy and Ian resumed their focus on the foodservice market and now supply a number of pub, restaurant and hotel chains, as well as airports across the country. They also co-produce for several branded manufacturers, online food box companies and even some catering butchers.
Although sausages are where it all began, as the company grew the product range expanded into other areas. After venturing into charcuterie and beginning to produce salamis and chorizo they went on to buy specialist chorizo producer, The Bath Pig. The British Premium Sausage Company are now the largest producer of chorizo in the country, having recently invested £2.5m in a modern new manufacturing facility. With new equipment in place they will have capacity to produce around twenty tonnes of charcuterie every week.
‘What we used to produce in a day we’ll be able to produce in an hour’ says Andy.
Although sausages sold in the UK still account for around 50% of their turnover (including meat free varieties), in addition the company now produce mince and burgers and have a successful export trade.
Asked about their recipe for success, the pair are surprisingly modest. They say they have allowed the business to ‘evolve’ rather than ambitiously chase targets. They put much of their success down to a willingness to try new things and work in partnership with customers to innovate and develop the exact products needed for individual markets. This has helped them develop a good reputation in the food industry and word of mouth has reaped its own rewards. Andy says their customers appreciate the company’s open-minded approach and flexibility. Having a very tight management structure – basically Andy and Ian, also means decisions can be made quickly, which is a key strength in the fast-moving world of the hospitality industry.
Andy says that their decision to invest the majority of the profits back into the business has also been pivotal in their success, enabling them to buy ultramodern new equipment and importantly respond to difficult circumstances, such as the energy crisis.
‘We’ve been able to spend £180k on solar panels which will relieve much of the headache caused by soaring energy bills. We expect them to pay for themselves in a matter of months not years’.
At heart though, Ian says, ‘We’re just foodies that make sausages’
Both Ian and Andy clearly have a real enthusiasm for what they do and are still excited by every new opportunity. As they finish our call to talk to a potential new customer Andy responds to my final question ‘What next for The British Premium Sausage Company?’ with a refreshingly honest and straightforward answer, ‘As long as we enjoy what we do and make a few bob we’ll continue what we’re doing’
As featured in the January/ February 2023 edition of Craft Butcher magazine