PULSETTA, the gluten-free bread brand from Aberdeen, has named former United Central Bakeries (UCB) boss Archy Cunningham as its first chairman as the firm goes on the hunt for investment.
Cunningham led a management buyout at Bathgate-based UCB in 2002 with backing from private equity firm 3i. He sold the business to Aim-quoted Finsbury Foods in 2005 and became managing director of its three Scottish units.
Finsbury Foods formed a joint venture with Edinburgh-based gluten-free brand Genius Foods three years ago and, in March, sold its Free From unit to Genius for £21 million.
Cunningham, 60, who retired from the business in April, had pioneered the production of gluten-free foods, including pitta bread for supermarket chain Tesco. He has also bought a stake in the business for an undisclosed sum.
Cunningham told Scotland on Sunday: “Working with Pulsetta has brought me out of retirement. I was looking for other non-executive directorships but now I just want to focus on Pulsetta.
“Its breads aren’t just gluten-free but are also low in fat – I’ve never known a gluten-free bread to win healthy eating awards before.”
Pulsetta has won a clutch of awards, including two “great taste” accolades from the Guild of Fine Food and a pair of Scotland Food & Drink “excellence” gongs.
The company’s bread is being produced by Inverurie-based baker JG Ross, which has invested £300,000 in converting one of its factories to produce gluten-free products.
Cunningham added: “Pulsetta has so much potential.”
Scotland on Sunday revealed in August that Pulsetta chief executive Karsten Karcher was seeking to add investment and expertise to the firm.
Cunningham will now help to raise funding for the company – with assistance from law firm Burness Paull and accountancy practice Johnston Carmichael – while the Scottish Investment Bank has already offered match-funding in principle.
Karcher, 46, spent three years carrying out research and developing the recipe for Pulsetta, which began trading in April. Under the latest deal, his wife, Anne Marie Karcher, will also become a shareholder and director at Pulsetta.
Karcher came up with the idea for Pulsetta – which counts as one of the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day – after being diagnosed as lactose intolerant, which sparked his interest in food intolerances.
He worked for Telewest and Austrian hotel software firm Tiscover before setting up his own company, with support from Strathclyde University.