Posted: 18/06/2014

Biscuit-maker Shropshire Fine Herbs in liquidation

shropshire purveyors rangeLess than a year after a major re-brand, savoury biscuit-maker Shropshire Fine Herbs has ceased trading and gone into voluntary liquidation after apparently running into cashflow problems.

The company, which launched its own Shropshire Purveyors range in September 2013, was primarily a private label supplier to a number of high profile customers including cheesemongers Paxton & Whitfield and La Fromagerie.

One client told FFD: “I think Christmas was okay for them but then in the New Year they were not getting the orders through and they just ran out of cash.”

According to a statement of affairs filed at Companies House at the beginning of June, Shropshire Fine Herbs Ltd owed more than £220,000 to its creditors, including Lloyds Commercial Finance, directors Hugh and Annie Laughton and numerous suppliers.

A number of speciality biscuit-makers are understood to be looking to pick up private label business as a result of the closure.

Stag Bakeries, in the Outer Hebrides, confirmed to FFD that it was speaking to some of Shropshire Fine Herbs’ previous customers. Stag general manager Alasdair Maclean said: “The complexities of some of these projects means that there will be variable lead times and a bit of back and forth as we look to accommodate enquiries.”

He said it was “never good to hear of producers going out of business and of jobs being lost”, adding: “Our experience is that the UK specialist biscuit market is very competitive with a large number of products jostling for customer attention.”

Other Shropshire Fine Herbs private label clients included flour producer Gilchester’s Organic, Daylesford Organic and Harrods.

Paxton & Whitfield MD Ros Windsor told FFD she was “very sad” about the demise of the baker, which supplied the cheesemonger’s branded cheese bites range.

She said: “There are so many sweet biscuit makers out there and so few savoury ones that we need all the savoury producers we can get.”

Last September, founder and director Hugh Laughton told FFD he hoped the 12-strong Shropshire Purveyors range would match the company’s private label output.

The company was also planning to phase out its Jannocks branded range of oatmeal biscuits.

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