Wilkin and Sons - Global sales of world-famous preserves.
Wilkin and Sons, based at Tiptree in Essex, is famous throughout the world for its range of high-quality jams and marmalades, which are exported to more than 65 countries. The company has annual sales of around £20 million and has seen revenue rising annually for more than ten years, with the growth trend continuing despite the global economic recession.
“The Tiptree name is now a global brand with a long history of success,” says Ian Thurgood, Joint Managing Director. “The Wilkin family has been farming in Tiptree since 1711 and has produced jam since 1885.”
The company holds royal warrants for preserves and marmalades and Tiptree products are endorsed by celebrity chefs like Delia Smith. They are used in top hotels and restaurants around the world and Eurostar has recently introduced a range of Tiptree products on its trains. Although globally successful, Wilkin and Sons remains a family firm with traditional production methods. “We have made some major investments to maintain quality while keeping pace with demand,” says Ian Thurgood. “But all our products will continue to be based on quality fruit grown locally in Essex.” A worldwide business like Wilkin & Sons recognises the value of the logistics infrastructure in Essex. Ian Thurgood says, “We can deliver our products to local ports like Harwich very quickly. It’s not just for export, many of our products are favourites with diners on ferries and cruise liners leaving Harwich and other ports.”
Proximity to London is also important. “Tiptree preserves are on the menus of many of the capital’s leading hotels and restaurants,” says Ian Thurgood. “Good transport links mean we can deliver products to the city early in the morning so they are fresh for that day’s breakfast. And, of course, we are conveniently located for efficient distribution to retailers and catering outlets throughout the rest of the UK.”
As a long-established business in Tiptree, the company is an important local employer, relying on the skills of its 200 regular staff, with skilled full-time employees in the factory, part-time workers in the tearooms and museum and casual workers in the fields during the fruit picking season. Wilkin and Sons is a great example of a local company with strong Essex roots that has used the county’s location and transport infrastructure to build a highly-successful global business.
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