An industry heavyweight who spent more than two decades with Marks & Spencer has been appointed chairman of an Edinburgh-based food safety and compliance firm as it targets significant growth.
David Gregory has joined Acoura after 26 years at the retailer where as technical director he played a key role in the growth of its food business.
Gregory has also served as chairman of consumer label Red Tractor until last year when he stepped down in November and has a portfolio of non-executive roles including on the boards of British Retail Consortium Trading and 2 Sisters Food Group, the UK’s largest food manufacturer.
Acoura, which employs some 500 staff and associates, carries out services aimed at improving food safety standards, safeguarding product quality and increasing supply chain traceability.
It works with customers including Marine Harvest, Scottish Quality Crops, Quality Meat Scotland, Arla UK, Gordon Ramsay, JD Wetherspoon and Mitchells & Butlers.
Acoura director Paul Egan said: “I am delighted that David has joined our business at a time of significant opportunity and I am sure he will be instrumental in helping to deliver our next stage of corporate development.”
Egan said Gregory was “part of the fabric of the food industry”.
He added: “He brings with him experience gained at the very highest level. He is the perfect fit for our team and also our current and future customers.”
Gregory said Acoura’s “customer focus and ability to provide tailored solutions for food safety and compliance from fisheries and farming through manufacturing, retail and food service is unique in the market place”.
After being established in 2011, Acoura went on to acquire three food sector compliance businesses – Perry Scott Nash, Scottish Food Quality Certification and Food Certification International.
As well as its wider food and drink focus, Acoura is the world’s largest supplier of risk and sustainability services to fisheries and aquaculture businesses as well as the leading provider of farm assurance inspections in the UK.
The company visits more than 1,000 food manufacturing sites and carries out 35,000 annual inspections across the food chain each year.
l Real Good Food, the ingredients business which owns Carluke-based jam maker R&W Scott, has bought Chantilly Patisserie of Devon in a £1.75 million deal.
Chantilly Patisserie employs 40 staff producing handmade frozen desserts and supplies customers in the food service sector including Brakes, Marston’s Brewery and Warner Leisure.
For the 12 months ending March 2015 the business had a turnover of £2.5m and earnings before interest of £500,000.
Pieter Totté, Real Good Food’s executive chairman, said: “The acquisition of Chantilly opens up a new channel for us as they have already impressively established themselves as a supplier of quality products to the important and growing food service sector.
“We will continue to identify and complete bolt-on acquisitions as we seek to reach greater scale within cake decoration, food ingredients and in this case premium bakery.”