JAM | Sep 12, 2022

Consolidated Bakeries recalibrating for growth    

/ Our Today

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Anthony Chang, CEO of Consolidated Bakeries, owners of the Purity brand. (Photo: Facebook @MissBirdieJamaica)

 Durrant Pate/Contributor

Consolidated Bakeries (Jamaica) has developed a new business strategy, which will see the entity recovering from its pandemic losses whilst registering improved growth over the next three years, starting this year.

To this extent, the 85-year-old publicly listed Jamaican company realigned its operations last year, which saw the reorganisation of key departments with existing and new team members, instituted on-the-job training programmes for new plant equipment and is adjusting the company culture so it will better reflect the long-term vision for change and growth. Also, the new strategy focuses on a large-scale transformation from the top down and staffing changes.

In line with establishing a stronger company culture, Consolidated Bakeries introduced a new BAKER Value System—Better, Accountable, Kindness, Excellence, Respect—that outlines the expectations of how team members will behave and work to accomplish the company’s goals.

Another key area that the company invested in during 2021 included branding and brand awareness, focussing on renovating existing products while innovating and creating new ones for our target markets.

In 2021, Consolidated Bakeries released two-pack sesame seed burger buns and rebranded its raisin and corn breads. The company also strengthened its marketing team and redesigned product packaging, which it expects will roll out in 2022.           

Aiming for 40% growth                                                     

The aim is to achieve at least a 40 per cent growth. Given the strategic plan of action for charting the course in 2021, the company bulked up on expenses related to processing and team changes, as well as investments.

Administrative expenses increased overall by 14 per cent with insurance and advertising and promotion reflecting the largest percentage changes at 134 per cent and 263 per cent increases, respectively. As such, these investments are seen as critical to the push for recovery and growth.

To efficiently define the way forward to sustainable growth after experiencing challenges with acquiring and maintaining small accounts at the height of the pandemic when many larger accounts were scaling back, Consolidated Bakeries has invested in a consultant. This expert talent was brought in to help frame the approach to the changes needed.       

This resulted in the company embarking on a different strategy that included a new focus on targeted objectives in production, operations and distribution.

In its 2022 outlook, the management was quick to emphasise that, “notwithstanding the losses of the last fiscal year, Consolidated Bakeries (Jamaica) Limited remains poised for future profitability with the implementation of its new strategic plan. The company is laying the groundwork for long-term sustainable change that will move us from a simple family business structure to an established top-earning company.”

Confidence in new business strategy            

In its just-completed 2021 annual report to shareholders, the management reports, “In 2022, we look forward to rolling out our newly branded products with fresh packaging as we renovate and enrich current products. We are also excited to see where our innovative measures will land us in the marketplace, as we work to bring unique, healthy, and more economical options to our customers. We are excited to have our freshly minted brand ambassadors join the family and help us build brand awareness.”

Already, the company has seen significant responses from its Easter bun campaign in the first quarter for 2022 and expects continued responsiveness to its Miss Birdie wheat crackers, raisin bread and corn bread.

(Photo: Facebook @PurityBakeryJamaica)

For the fiscal year ending December 31, 2021, the company recorded a net loss of J$17.6 million, an increase from the J$14.4 million loss in 2020. Although the economic landscape was still in recovery mode, with curfews, decreased buying power for consumers due to price increases and unemployment, and other residual effects of COVID-19, Consolidated Bakeries achieved an increase in revenue in 2021.

Revenues grew by eight per cent closing the year at J$1.08 billion, compared to J$994 million in 2020. This remains significant despite the company not achieving a profit. This was attributed to the investments made to achieve the new strategic thrust the company embarked on.


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