Belfast Telegraph

Genesis Crafty bakery sees profits and bread sales rise

Genesis enjoys a solid year of business

By John Mulgrew

Co Londonderry family bakery Genesis Crafty has increased its sales to almost £16m with profits rising by more than 8%.

And it also expects that 2016 will be another bumper year for the business, with turnover increasing due to new contracts and products.

The company, which trades under McErlain's Bakery and is based in Magherafelt, saw profits after tax increasing to £544,000 for the year ending October 2015.

The bakery was founded in 1968 by Roberta and Joe McErlain on Church Street, Magherafelt. Mrs McErlain was well known for her motto, 'never sell anything you wouldn't love to eat yourself', something which her sons still try to adhere to.

In its latest accounts, the company said it believes that "performance will continue to improve as a result of ongoing research and development into new products, a strengthening of their senior management team through various appointments and further embedding of their IT system."

Genesis makes several lines of pancakes, including chocolate chip, blueberry, giant pancakes, standard six pack and more adventurous flavours such as maple syrup and lemon and raisin.

The firm's employee numbers fell over the last 12 months, according to the latest accounts for McErlain's Bakery (Magherafelt) Limited.

Workforce numbers dropped from 243 to 226, while the overall staff wage bill increased from £4.17m to £4.59m.

The company's products are sold at major retailers such as Ocado, Waitrose and Sainsbury's as well as others such as Centra, Costcutter and Spar.

Looking forward, the company's directors said they "anticipate that 2016 will generate greater turnover than 2015 due to new contracts, new product lines with existing customers in addition to maximising their potential in specific target areas."

And they said they expect to see a stronger profit margin over the next year.

In the last three years, the company has won around two dozen Great Taste Awards for a range of its products.

The company also makes premium own-brand products for Sainsbury's Taste the Difference range, as well as lines for Waitrose.

The company is run by six siblings - Damian, Seamus, Paul, John, Adrian and Brian McErlain.

The full Genesis range of products is handmade in small batches to keep the dough soft and moist.

Among the company's most popular products is its range of wheaten breads.

As well as a traditional sliced oven wheaten, Genesis have put a new twist on this popular Irish bread with a honey and yoghurt wheaten, a fruited wheaten and a loaf specially made for toasting.

Pancakes are another staple.

Earlier this year during Pancake Tuesday the company said it was due to sell 70,000 in the space of just one week - triple its normal sales.

Despite the scale of the operation, the bakers still flip every pancake and chaff every scone by hand.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph earlier this year, general manager David Walmsley said part of the pancake's success in Northern Ireland is down to our willingness to eat them at any time of day, not just at breakfast time.

"They're so versatile. People will use them for all sorts of occasions," he added.

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