Bay Tree Food Company Case Study

Award-winning Bay Tree Food Company has a passion for food – and for Somerset. The company, which manufactures and distributes a wide range of preserves, sauces, chutneys, desserts and more to independent UK speciality retailers, won Somerset Business of the Year Award in 2008 and has been a finalist in two national Business of the Year contests. 

Director and co-founder Emma Macdonald is well-qualified to talk about the benefits of operating a business in Somerset, 
as she has always lived in the county. “Somerset is very business-focused and has a great diversity of small business. The people are generally friendly and helpful. The potential for business space at a reasonable price is good so you can spend more money on your business. There is a huge selection of small businesses that we can connect with and have the opportunity to work with. Somerset has a strong sense of belonging making for good relations between businesses.” 

Somerset has excellent transportation and communications systems, says Emma. “The road system is good most of the time, so you will not spend hours in traffic. We are only two hours from London or Birmingham. There are good rail links and a couple of smaller airports that are growing. 

The Bay Tree Food Company began in 1994 when ex-London food buyer Lucie Lewis was so impressed with Emma’s family cucumber relish that she suggested they go into business. Their first client was Fortnum and Mason and they launched The Bay Tree Food Co four months later. Since then, the company has expanded, backed by strong customer care. “We have grown organically by churning all our profits back into the business so we keep control of its growth. We have grown around 15% year-on-year on average.” 

The Bay Tree Food Company is a member of several business support groups, including the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses), Taste of the West and more. “If you like rural spaces, but with a strong business and driven lifestyle, Somerset has it all. There are some main cities to tap into as well as plenty of countryside pursuits. The coast is only an hour away allowing for great diversity of hobbies,” says Emma.