Famous Scottish baker sees multi-million-pound boost from 'bake-at-home' pies

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Samantha Murray <i>(Image: Bells Food Group)</i>
Samantha Murray (Image: Bells Food Group)

A renowned Scottish pie maker is targeting £2 million of sales in the first year from its launch of a new range of frozen back-at-home pies.

Lanarkshire-based Bells currently bakes around 16 million Scotch pies annually.

The company noted its move into the frozen category with the new range was a first for it. The new frozen range includes the Bells Scotch pie, macaroni cheese pie and new Scotch chilli pie. The pies are available in packs of three in Iceland stores throughout Scotland and in all Farmfoods stores across the UK. Bells said it estimated “sales will be worth around £2 million in the first year alone”.

Finance director and third generation family member Samantha Murray said: “Launching into the frozen category is a natural progression as we look to extend the reach of our products to more customers and consumers.”

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Last month, Bells Food Group announced it had won a major contract to supply own-label pastry to Tesco, creating 15 additional jobs. The contract involves the sale of five-and-a-half million packs of puff pastry in 862 Tesco stores throughout the UK.

Bells noted it had invested heavily to extend its bakery premises, creating additional freezing facilities and installing new equipment to accommodate growth.

The company said the introduction and success of Bells "special" puff pastry, which was launched in 1955, had allowed it to expand into other savoury products such as Bells Scotch pies, bridies, sausage rolls and Bells steak pies.

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These are produced from Bells’ recipes dating back to the 1930s, the decade in which the business was established. Fearing his son Donald would be out of work after completing an apprenticeship at a local bakery in 1931, David Bell converted the family wash-house into a small bakery and Donald started the business selling scones and pancakes in the early hours of the morning door-to-door. As the business grew, Donald’s four brothers and two sisters joined.

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Bells now has annual turnover of around £26 million, employs about 220 people, and operates two bakeries and a distribution centre in Shotts.

The company puts its share of the hot pie market in Scotland at 60%.