chilled meal regina eyes world market
Aug 3 (IANS) An Indian home maker who now runs a multi-million
pound ready-food empire in the UK is looking to enter the
international market with her chilled Indian meals.
S&A Foods, with a turnover of nearly ?60 million, wants
to expand to other countries, according to its owner, Perween
Warsi. Featured in Sunday Times as a leading Asian-born entrepreneur,
Warsi's meals are considered the most popular of all Asian
ready meals in the UK and are sold through the supermarket
chain, ASDA, a Walmart company.
came here with her doctor husband in the mid-1970s, hardly
thinking about business, intent on setting up her home.Until
she tasted some Indian stuff being sold in a supermarket.
The food did not taste good and the quality was not high,
either. She decided to take matters into her own hands, and
started supplying samosas to local delis in Derby.
Perween did not stop there. She formed a company, S&A
Foods, named after sons Sadiq and Abid, and succeeded in persuading
ASDA to stock her ready foods. The business expanded in no
time, but she could not get loans to fund a factory. The only
option was to tie up with another food company. In 1998 she
accepted an offer by the Hughes Food Group to buy a share
in her company.
try to keep innovating and raising the bar with new product
lines, including supermarket takeaway bags and pick-and-mix,"
its growth and investment problems solved, sales exceeded
?5m, but three years later S&A's parent company went into
administration. "It was not our fault as we had a strong,
profitable, growing business, but it made life difficult,"
the support of venture-capital backer 3i, Warsi bought back
the company in 2004. Soon the business was growing fast again,
diversifying its product range to become Asda's largest supplier
of chilled foods.
have no formal qualifications. I learnt my trade by doing
it and by learning from the accountants how to do the wages
and payslips, Warsi says. Now entirely family-owned, the company
makes 1.25 million ready meals a week, employs 600 staff and
turns over more than ?60m a year.