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A top bakery has been rewarded with a gold award after investing £2 million in a new crumpet making operation that’s created 20 more jobs.

The Ultimate crumpets made by the Village Bakery for Marks & Spencer took the first prize at the prestigious Own-Label Food and Drink Awards organised by The Grocer Magazine.

According to the judges, the texture and flavour were “head and shoulders” above the other finalists in the morning goods category.

Consumers were equally impressed, describing the product as “fat, big and delicious”.

The Ultimate crumpets are made to a bespoke recipe for Marks & Spencer at one of the company’s two bakeries on Wrexham Industrial Estate.

They are sold in more than 850 Marks and Spencer stores across the UK as well as their international branches in Europe and as far afield as Hong Kong.

The growing family run firm, which also has a bakery in Minera, near Wrexham, now employs more than 300 staff between their two sites.

Director Christien Jones was delighted the quality of the crumpets had been recognised with a gold award so soon after being launched.

He said: “Even if I say it myself, they are fabulous. This is a bespoke recipe for M&S and there is nothing like them on the market which is  why I think sales have grown so rapidly.

“Our aim is always to make the best products and we were the first company to put sourdough into our crumpets, making them much more flavoursome and fluffier than anything else on the market.

“Using sour dough means a longer fermentation, giving it extra taste – simply put, slow dough time equals flavour.

“As well as winning the award, we’re getting brilliant feedback from the people who buy them from M&S and that’s really very encouraging.

“The success has come about because of a big investment on our part. The line itself cost £600,000 while the total cost of the project was around £2 million when you include things like the mixing room, coolers and packaging.

“In effect, we have set up a whole new department and recruited 20 new staff. They are a great team and I’m thrilled their hard work and skill has been rewarded.”

Winning the gold award was also a source of great pride to packaging supervisor Sue Herling, 42, who joined the company last November.

Sue said: “We were really chuffed when we heard about the gold award.

“The crumpets are lovely. I think the quality, the appearance of them and the taste is better than any other crumpets I’ve tasted. They’re delicious with just a knob of butter.”

It was a sentiment echoed by production supervisor David de Costa, 26, who said: “Working here at the Village Bakery is fantastic.

“The secret of our success is simple – we make great products. Our clients want quality and that’s what we give them.

“I was very happy when I heard we’d won the award because it’s an important achievement for us. It’s great to be recognised in this way because it is an endorsement of our commitment to quality.”

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