A LONGHOPE business ‘The Authentic Bread Company’ has been awarded with ‘Family Business of the Year’. 

It came as part of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Awards 2024, where the organisation recognises business achievements. 

In addition to winning the regional award, the business has been shortlisted for the national award, winners of which will be announced in May, during the FSB 50-year anniversary celebration in Blackpool’s Winter Gardens.

They will be joined by other award winners in the region including three in the Gloucestershire area. 

Ruth Lambert, an FSB Development Manager who hosted the awards ceremony, said ‘the quality of our winners was absolutely superb and they are all very well deserving winners.’

The Authentic Bread Company said: ‘we are so pleased to announce that we were lucky enough to win South West Family Business of the year at the Federation of Small Businesses awards. 

The award means so much to us as family has always been at the heart of our business. 

Being part of a family business means always carrying your work with you, ever evolving and adapting but more than this our family values have extended to our business family and everyone at The Authentic Bread Company. 

The final result being a business that cares about its people, products and customers. We hope you can see this love in the things we make from our family to yours - thank you.’

The family business was told about its award only a few days before the awards ceremony, although the nominations began in January. 

Emily Crewe, the Commercial Director of the Authentic Bread Company said: ‘”The fact they have a family business award is recognition that family businesses are different from traditional businesses. There’s no “one boss” that directs the organisation, so family businesses have to be more collaborative.”

The business is community-focussed and was set up out of necessity. Emily said: “We’re a family business. We were set up 30 years ago to address the problems with plant bread or stuff made in a factory that has all sorts of things in it to make it cheaper and quick to process. We wanted to change what people were eating for the better.”

The Authentic Bread Company has seen a significant rise since its humble beginnings in a home kitchen within The Forest. Emily said: “we started off just supplying local health food shops and various other organic businesses, and the business really quickly grew. 

“Then,about 20 years ago, we were approached by a company called Abel & Cole and we started supplying them with bread, which was a huge jump for us in terms of the volumes we were dealing with out of our old site in Strawberry Hill, Newent. 

“That was very successful but then Riverford Market came to us and wanted a really artisan range. We’ve not compromised on what we do and everything is handmade.”

The business moved to its Longhope premises three years ago during its growth. Emily said that they ‘couldn’t and didn’t want to go far because of all of our employees and baking is a dying industry and a dying skill, which is awful and makes life very difficult for us.

“We couldn’t move away from where our staff needed to be and we wanted to stay rural, although there are challenges to rural businesses such as distance, transport and road links.”

In the future, the business hopes to interface with Gloucestershire College to try to get more new people in the industry. They’re looking for those who are passionate about bread making, and may offer in-house training.