Sheldon’s might be one of the fastest-growing baked goods brands in the country, but they remain fiercely proud of their northern roots and their range of traditional products.

Indeed, at the beginning of this year, the company’s Sarah Sheldon appeared on the regional BBC radio station Radio Manchester to extol the virtues of their hugely popular Oven Bottom Muffin, and to talk up all things Lancashire in the process.

Sheldon’s was started in 1949 by Harold Sheldon, who had left school and begun to learn the baking trade in Newton Heath, Manchester in 1924. He set up his own company and it grew from there, with son Graham taking over the reins and building the business even further.

Now Graham is still overseeing the company his father built up, but with his son and daughter Lee and Sarah joining him to make it a 21st Century concern even as it holds on to the values that Harold begun it with.
Sheldon’s most famous product is its Oven Bottom Muffin, known the length and breadth of Lancashire and the North West, but its fame is growing even further afield.

Over the past couple of years the company has secured national distribution of the Oven Bottom Muffins along with other Sheldon’s branded products to major retailers and you can find their products on the shelves of big supermarkets across the UK.

And the quality of their baking is becoming so well known you can even pick up some of the company’s products in convenience stores in That London!

Sarah Sheldon, fresh from talking up the business on the radio, said that it was fantastic to see their signature product performing so well across the country.

She said, “The fact that shelf space has been allocated for this product is a real testament to the performance of this unique, high-quality versatile product.”

But while the Oven Bottom Muffin continues to do the business for Sheldon’s, it’s by no means the only weapon in their arsenal as they fight for even greater recognition across the UK.

Sales have grown massively in their multi-packs of products such as 12- and 8-pack sliced baps and sliced hot dog rolls, which have perennial appeal for barbecue season, parties, and winter celebrations such as Bonfire Night and Halloween.

But while Harold’s skill as a master baker still informs everything they do in terms of quality and providing exactly what their customers want, Sheldon’s is never afraid to innovate.
They recently developed a new artisan range, building on the qualities they infuse into every product but with a more luxurious feel and taste to appeal to a different market.

Other recent products they’ve launched include a high-quality brioche which has proved a great success with customers and retailers.
The business is now based in Openshaw, Manchester, and they recently invested £1 million in new equipment to streamline the roll-making production process, as well as researching automation of some parts of the production process.

Sarah says, “The recent investment puts us in a position of strength in terms of securing  100% order fill for the customers, particularly if the weather is good, as we see phenomenal spikes in the demand for our rolls. Putting money back into the business assists with quality, consistency and efficiency, as well as offering health and safety benefits.”
The company is also in the process of setting up a further production unit along with taking on additional warehouse and distribution space. The new production unit and warehouse facility are due to open in April.
Sheldon’s is also heavily involved in the community in which they operate. For the past six years they’ve run a fundraising drive every Christmas, asking local people to donate presents for needy children in the Manchester area.

The company says, “More than half the children living in Manchester are living in poverty, and every year these children and their families face a Christmas without gifts. Sheldon’s firmly believes that no child should go without gifts at Christmas, and pledged to take part in the Mission Christmas campaign back in 2012. Every year the fundraising, done by Sheldon’s and the hundreds of volunteers in Manchester taking park in Mission Christmas, ensures that Christmas can be a day of giving for every child.”

In  the  short  term,  Sheldon’s  goal  is  to  significantly  increase  the  company’s  brand  growth  and exposure  by  continuing  with  ongoing  marketing  activity,  securing  further  national  coverage  and  continuing  to  offer  top  quality  products  and  excellent  service.  
“The  long-term  goal  is  to  spread  the  brand  in  order  to  maintain  a  healthy  business  and  keep  employing  our  trained,  loyal  workforce,” says  Sarah  Sheldon.

With a commitment to innovation, a strong community presence, and a range of products that caters to those who demand their old favourites but also looks to bring in new customers with new launches, Sheldon’s is certainly honouring the ethos on which the company was founded 70 years ago, but also firmly looking to the future.