Pork Farms is a Nottingham-based British producer and distributor of mainly pork-based bakery products.
In the early 1940s, recently City and Guilds qualified baker Ken Parr took out a £9,000 loan to set up his own pie shop. He developed a reputation founded on good baking, and developed the first "original" pork pie based on an old recipe, with signature dark and crispy pastry. He then bought another local pie shop, founded in 1931 which traded under the name Pork Farms, which he adopted for all shops after that.
In the mid-1960s, Parr's business was bought by food tycoon W. Garfield Weston, who made Parr Chairman. In 1969, rival Nottingham pie company TN Parr, formerly owned by Parr’s uncle but then by Samworth Brothers, bought out Pork Farms, again bringing together the two companies together under the Pork Farms brand. In 1972, Pork Farms bought rival Holland's Pies. In 1971, the group was floated on the London Stock Exchange as Pork Farms Ltd.
In 1974, Pork Farms and Northern Foods created joint venture company Porkdown Ltd, to supply meat products to French foods group Danone. But immediately after production started, Danone undertook a group-wide review, and on deciding to concentrate on their milk-based products line, closed down the contract. The resultant losses closed Porkdown, and in 1978 lead to the agreed sale of Pork Farms to Northern Foods, after the Samworth family agreed sale of their shares to the group. Later merged by Northern with both Palethorpes of Market Drayton and Bowyers of Trowbridge, Wiltshire, to form Pork Farms Bowyers, the company sold the Bowyers and Palethorpes pork sausage business and brands to Kerry Group in 2001, to concentrate on baked meat products.
Bought by Vision Capital in 2007, with European Union laws focusing on the need to produce Melton Mowbray Pork Pies within a defined distance of Melton Mowbray, the company chose to close the Trowbridge plant and invest £12million into the Nottingham plant to increase Melton Mowbray Pork Pie production. Today the company employs over 2,000 people at five locations, in Poole, Nottingham, Market Drayton and Shaftesbury.
Pork Farms has doubled the capacity of their data capture system at their Queens Drive manufacturing site and all quality paperwork has now been removed from the production process. CCP, QC and QA results are electronically captured and monitored by their data capture system.
Pork Farms marked its 80th anniversary with a £1m relaunch and a new range of slices. The new packaging is designed to flag up the company's heritage it carries the straplines 'Making & Baking since 1931' and 'Butchers, Bakers, Master Piemakers'.
Their recent TV campaign based around finding the United Kingdom's Hidden Gems was created to drive an interest in a category that was long devoid of advertising support.