EHL Ingredients opens new premises

By Ben Bouckley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food

EHL Ingredients has just moved to new UK premises that it says will expand its storage facilities and improve the efficiency of its blending and repacking processes.

Stockport-based EHL imports, blends and packs food ingredients such as herbs and spices, beans and pulses and dried fruit; it supplies over 300 food ingredients to all areas of the food industry, with a 200-product organic range and over 50 custom blends.

The new 20,000 sq ft site in Cheshire doubles the firms’s previous site area – where EHL was originially based in Manchester – with a “marked uplift”​ in customers over the past year, along with British Retail Consortium (BRC) accreditation, driving growth.

Sales director Tasmeen Backhouse told FoodManufacture.co.uk that EHL's turnover reached £2.7m by the end of the last financial year in 2010; the firm expects to exceed £3.5m by this July, and is pushing for £4.2m.

Move is growth launchpad

After the installation of a new blender onsite, Backhouse said bespoke spice blends for customers were one notable growth driver, along with peppers used by food manufacturers for use in sauces, ready meals and soups.

As for EHL's customer balance: "During the recession people are cooking more at home and going out less, so we've seen a real growth in sales to food manufacturers, but the wholesale sector (although we have seen growth) has been slower. Ingredients for ready meals, sauces and food kits are all doing well."

Company founder and MD Emma Haq said that one the main reasons for the site relocation was to grow business - with the addition of blending and packing rooms - but also to achieve the recognised standard of food safety management represented by the BRC.

Said Backhouse: "Many customers want the BRC standard, so its great that we can show people we have it. It shows clients we have a strong technical background, can provide products that meet their specification​s and have warehouse facilities of a certain standard, which helps them with their audits."

Additional staff needed

With food prices going up, Backhouse said customers were focused on cost - where EHL sources ingredients directly from source wherever possible to keep costs down, with minimal volumes purchased from trade - but that good service standards and product range were equally important when tendering for business.

"OK, you might sell your ingredients very cheaply, but that's no good if you don't deliver on time or get the order wrong - obviously clients are interested in these factors."

Positive growth also meant that EHL was looking into creating new staffing opportunities, said Haq, adding: “The developments will help to drive the company forwards as we continue to expand EHL Ingredients and become a major player…within the UK food industry.”

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