BETTYS & Taylors Group, home to some of Yorkshire’s most iconic brands, said sales and profits rose last year in spite of growing competition and changing consumer habits.
The family-owned company reported a 5 per cent increase in turnover to £156m. Pre-tax profits rose 7.3 per cent to £10.8m in the year ending October 2014.
The group, which owns the Yorkshire Tea and Taylors brands and six Bettys tea rooms across Yorkshire, said the positive performance follows a year of strong sales growth across the two businesses.
In a statement for The Yorkshire Post, Paul Cogan, group finance director and resources director, said: “We are pleased that we have been able to deliver strong results in what is an increasingly competitive market where in the last year we have seen unprecedented change in the buying habits of UK consumers.
“At Bettys & Taylors we continually strive to find new and innovative ways to delight our customers and to share with them our genuine passion for delivering high quality products that reflect our Yorkshire heritage.”
The group has created a new research and development facility at its bakery to come up with innovative new products for its online business, Bettys by Post, tea rooms and shops.
The facility has developed more than 80 new or improved products since its launch in May 2014,.
The Harrogate-based business said it contributed £411,000 to charitable and community projects in Yorkshire and in tea and coffee-growing countries.
The group was recently honoured as a global leader in sustainability by the international non-governmental organisation Rainforest Alliance.
Bettys & Taylors operates a long-standing quarterly bonus scheme for its employees, with staff receiving the equivalent of an additional six weeks pay. The group employs more than 1,400 people.
The financial year included the Grand Depart of the Tour de France, which generated huge publicity for Yorkshire as millions of people cheered on competitors in the world’s biggest bicycle race.
Kevin Sinfield, marketing manager at Yorkshire Tea, said: “With the spotlight on Yorkshire, Le Tour was a global opportunity for us to raise awareness of our iconic brand.
“We saw the Grand Dèpart as a chance to further support our position as the fastest-growing tea brand in the UK, but more than that, it was quite simply too good an opportunity to miss.
“As one of Yorkshire’s most famous brands and one of the region’s biggest employers, we needed to be there to support the event, the cyclists and provide a bit of good old Yorkshire hospitality to spectators from around the country and even further afield.”
The team behind Yorkshire Tea created giant, pouring teapots which sat atop specially created processional caravans.
They distributed more than five million bespoke Grand Depart sample packs, creating lots of chatter on social media.
The group said Yorkshire Tea gained an additional 10,000 Twitter followers and achieved more than 70 per cent of all tea brand mentions over the weekend.
Bettys and Taylors is owned by the family of Frederick Belmont, the Swiss confectioner who founded Bettys in 1919.
Today, there are three generations of shareholders, including Jonathan Wild, the great nephew of Mr Belmont. He retired as chief executive in 2011. His wife Lesley chairs the group board.
The group has no majority shareholder and instead of having a single CEO, a team of four senior executives are responsible for organisational strategy and development and the operations of the business as “collaborative CEOs”.
Bettys & Taylors said: “The three generations of family shareholders are committed to family ownership for the long term and ensuring that the business continues to grow in a way that respects the planet and communities in which it works.”
The group hired a non-family member as chief executive but Andrew Baker, formerly of the Prince of Wales’ food business Duchy Originals, stepped down after just a few months in the role in 2011.