Tam's Tall Tales

- Ena Baxter - Soup-maker Extraordinaire

Baxters' Flagship Retail Outlet
Tullibardine, Auchterarder, Perthshire

How to Grow a Successful Company

Ena Baxter 'the woman who made Scottish tinned soups famous around the world" has died at the age of 90.

The first Baxters shop opened in the village of Fochabers in Moray in 1868, but it was Ena and her husband Gordon who built up a small family company which employed just 11 people in 1945.

Now Baxters has a turnover of 160 million and employ over 1,000 people. Despite the current size of the company, they still maintain an image as a "family business", with advertisements focusing on Ena (and daughter Audrey's) recipes. The picture here of Fochabers on the banks of the river Spey is by "Qeqertaq" via Wikimedia Commons.

In the 21st century they bought up other food companies including the Fray Bentos range of pies and meat products. In 2004, bBaxters took over Soup-Experts, said to be Canada's leading manufacturer of "private label" soups, saying it planned to use the Canadian company's Quebec factory, to manufacture its own branded products. Baxters also took over Jensen's Choice Foods Pty in Australia. They also have manufacturing sites in Wolsztyn in Poland and Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada. About a third of the company's turnover is now delivered by overseas sales.

Baxters also own and operate several shop/restaurant facilities across Scotland. These include branches at Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh, Tullibardine in Perthshire, Selkirk in the Scottish Borders and the Highland Village at their headquarters in Fochabers.

Adam Leyland of The Grocer magazine said: "Ena turned this little operation into a global food brand, reviving interest in the heritage of Scottish cuisine dating back to Mary Queen of Scots, She was a foodie before the term was invented and she continued to challenge herself.'

Gordon Baxter died on 2013 but the company remains in family control with Audrey, their daughter, running the firm since 1992.

Please give me whatever feedback comes to mind via tamfromrampant@gmail.com.

Tam O'Ranter
May 2014

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