Open main menu

Samworth Brothers is a British food manufacturer, the owner of Cornish pasty maker Ginsters and the largest maker of certified Melton Mowbray pork pies. The company is listed[when?] at number four in The Times Top Track 250.

Samworth Brothers
HeadquartersMelton Mowbray, Leicestershire & Callington, Cornwall, United Kingdom
Key people
Life President
  • Sir David Samworth CBE DL

Group Holdings Board
  • Nicholas Linney (Chair)
  • Alex Knight (Group Chief Executive)
  • Mark Samworth (Director)
  • William Kendall (Non-Executive Director)
  • Hannu Ryöppönen (Non-Executive Director)
  • Jonathan Warburton (Non-Executive Director)

Group Executive Board
  • Richard Armitage (Group Finance Director)
  • Anita Barker (Director)
  • Paul Davey (Director)
  • Ian Fletcher (Director)
  • Mary-Ann Kilby (Director)
  • Richard Marris (Director)[1]
ProductsMeat products, Melton Mowbray Pork pies, Sandwiches, Deserts, Ready meals
OwnerPrivate, various
Number of employees
SubsidiariesGinsters, Walker & Son, Dickinson & Morris, Soreen and SCI-MX Nutrition Edit this on Wikidata
Samworth Brothers head office fronts two food manufacturing plants on the A607
Dickinson and Morris Pie Shop Melton Mowbray


George Samworth was born in 1868, and after joining a group of Birmingham-based pig buyers started his own pig-dealing business in 1896. After his retirement in 1930, his sons Frank and George took over the business. The business collapsed in the period of meat rationing of World War II, but in 1950 Frank bought Nottingham based butchery and pie makers TN Parr. In 1969, the company bought local Nottinghamshire rival Pork Farms from W. Garfield Weston, which doubled the size of the business overnight. Frank decided to retire, leaving the business to his sons, with David as Chairman, while Frank Jr. and John Samworth were senior Directors. In 1971, the group was floated on the London Stock Exchange as Pork Farms plc, and in 1972 bought rival Holland's Pies.

In 1974, Pork Farms and Northern Foods created a joint venture company Porkdown Ltd, to supply meat products to French foods group Danone. But soon after production started, Danone undertook a group wide-review, and on deciding to concentrate on their milk products, closed down the contract. The resultant losses closed Porkdown, and in 1978 led to the agreed sale of Pork Farms to Northern Foods, after the Samworth family agreed sale of their shares to the group.

Separately, in 1977, John Samworth had left the business after his purchase of the Ginsters Cornish pasties business from the Ginsters family, under his holding company Goran Foods Ltd. In 1985 the name of Goran Foods was changed to Samworth Brothers, to reflect the involvement of John and David Samworth.

In 1986, Samworth Brothers purchased Leicester-based Walker & Son Ltd. Having sold their Walkers crisps business in 1971 to US-based Standard Brands, their pie-making business was now the largest distributor of Melton Mowbray pork pies. This business was added to in 1992 after the purchase of the fire-destroyed Melton Mowbray based pie maker Dickinson & Morris, which was refurbished in a traditional style.

In 2017, Samworth Brothers bought the West Cornwall Pasty Company, a chain of fast food outlets which at that time had 33 shops and 19 outlets at motorway service stations.[2]


Samworth Brothers are a multi-line food manufacturer covering:

  • Meat products – a range of own-brand sausage products made by Walkers Midshire.
  • Sandwiches – after Tesco approached the business in 1993, they opened the Walkers Charnwood owned Bradgate Bakery to produce own-label sandwiches for a variety of supermarkets. This was supplemented in 1994 by the establishment of the Ginsters sandwich range. Further added to in 1998 with the opening of the Melton Foods bakery, and in 2006 with the opening of the Sandwich Centre to provide van-based distribution into central London.
  • Ready meals – produced by Tamar Foods, Kettleby Foods and Brooksby Foods.
  • Desserts – Kensey Foods in Launceston and Blueberry Foods produce ambient and chilled desserts.
  • Saladworks – conceived as a filling-production facility, it now also produces own-brand ready-meals.

After John retired in 2002, and David in 2005, the business is now chaired by non-family member Nick Linney.

National Living Wage debateEdit

Since the introduction of a National Living Wage in April 2016, Samworth Brothers have come under widespread criticism for removing premium pay rates in order to pay the new minimum wage. As Joan Ryan, Labour Party MP for Enfield North, stated in parliament:

Bradgate Bakery is part of the group [Samworth Brothers] that owns famous brands that we all enjoy, such as Ginsters pies and Soreen loaf, but the pay that it is offering staff is a lot less tasty than its food. Bradgate has written to all its Leicestershire staff, detailing changes to their wages. Most shop-floor employees at Bradgate were earning just over £6.70 an hour before 1 April, so the introduction of the national living wage should have made quite a difference for them, but Bradgate, like B&Q, has found an opportunity to save money.

[Bradgate] has changed staff terms and conditions to phase out double pay for Sundays by 2019. That means that while employees on the national minimum wage earned £13.78 per hour on a Sunday last month, by 2019 they will earn just £9 per hour. That is the national living wage according to Bradgate Bakery. Extra pay for night shifts, Saturdays and overtime are also being scaled back. In sum, Bradgate workers are being sold a lie: they are told that their pay is increasing, but what the Government are giving with one hand, Bradgate is taking with another. According to one very worried worker who approached my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham and Morden, these cuts will affect the whole range of shifts that run in the factories. That means that by 2018 a production operative on night shift will be paid £2,778 less a year, while a night shift team leader will be paid £344 less.[3]

Despite this, Samworth Brothers director Mark Samworth was invited to one of the Conservative Party's "leaders' group meals" between January and March, according to documents released by the party and analysed by the Morning Star. These "cash-for-access" meals require a minimum payment of £50,000 to the Conservative Party.[4]


  • BSA Award: David Samworth (2007)
  • Sandwich Manufacturer of the Year: 1995/1996 (Joint with Toft Foods); 1998 (Joint with Gibsons); 1999, 2007

Tamar FoodsEdit

Tamar Foods is a brand name and subsidiary business of Samworth Brothers.[5] It was founded in 1999 and employs over 500 people at its plant in Callington, Cornwall.[6][7] Their products are distributed by Ginsters, another subsidiary of Samworth's, and are sold in supermarkets such as Marks and Spencers and Tesco.[8][9][10] The company also makes pasties for Waitrose.[11]


In 2016, Samworth Brothers and their subsidiary brands received criticism over the way they dealt with the introduction of the national living wage, with critics claiming that workers would be worse off due to cuts in Sunday and evening pay.[12]

In 2009, Tamar Foods took over the failing Duchy Originals bakery, which had been set up in 1990 by Prince Charles.[13]

In 2010, Tamar foods was shortlisted for the 2010 Best British Factory Awards.[14] They were awarded the Best Household and General Products Plant Award[15]

In March 2017, Tamer Foods was awarded a highly commended award in the Chicken Pie category at the British National Pie Awards.[16][17] They have won awards at the National Pie Awards in previous years.[18][19]

Conservative Party donationsEdit

Mark and David Samworth are regular donors to the Conservative Party. It was reported in 2015 that donations since 2002 by the Samworths, and others connected with the company, totalled nearly £650,000.[20][21]


  1. ^ "OUR LEADERSHIP". Samworth Brothers. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  2. ^ Bradshaw, Julia (3 January 2017). "Samworth Brothers gobbles up West Cornwall Pasty Company". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  3. ^ National Living Wage Debate, 18 April 2016. Volume 608
  4. ^ James, Luke (27 May 2016). "Tories wine and dine boss who cut staff pay". Morning Star. People's Press Printing Society. p. 2. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  5. ^ Bamford, Vince. "Ginsters turns to Coca-Cola's Kieran Hemsworth for MD role". Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  6. ^ "Tamar Foods". Cylex UK. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  7. ^ "samworth history". Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  8. ^ Gribben, Roland (25 July 2009). "Samworth's deal with Tesco gives it a big share of the UK food pie". Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  9. ^ "Way to convey M&S pie packaging". Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  10. ^ "The humble conveyor gets production moving". Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  11. ^ "Cornish pasty sales are at £300m a year in Britain and rising". The Independent. 27 March 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  12. ^ "Living wage storm as maker of Ginsters pie firm plans curbs on pay". This is Money. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  13. ^ "Tamar Foods takes on Duchy, following losses – British Baker". Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  14. ^ "Finalists announced for 2010 Best Factory Awards". Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  15. ^ "Britains Best Factory Award Winners 2010 – KPS". KPS. 20 September 2010. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  16. ^ "Melton Mowbray pork pie scoops top prize at National Pie Awards | Pig World". Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  17. ^ "Winners list 2017" (PDF). Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  18. ^ "Winners list 2016" (PDF). Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  19. ^ "Primary source – pie awards". Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  20. ^ Warnes, Sophie (2015-03-25). "Buy these 11 things and you are unwittingly funding the Tories". mirror. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  21. ^ "Ginsters' £100,000 government donation during 'pasty tax' – British Baker". Retrieved 2018-03-18.

External linksEdit