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Jam today for UK family business

Duerr's, the oldest family-owned jam-maker in the UK, has appointed its first non-executive director to its board as it looks to professionalise the company.

Duerr’s, the oldest family-owned jam-maker in the UK, has appointed its first non-executive director to its board as it looks to professionalise the company.

Industry veteran Clive Sharpe, who has 33 years' experience in food manufacturing, will work alongside chairman Tony Duerr, managing director Mark Duerr and marketing director Richard Duerr.

Manchester-based Duerr’s was established as a family business in 1881 and is currently in its fifth generation of family management.

The company is credited with pioneering the method of vacuum sealing jars in the early 20th century. While many manufacturers used cardboard caps and paper tissue for jars until 1955, Duerr’s began vacuum sealing its preserves in 1905.

More recently, in 2011, the firm invented and supplied its jars with easy-open caps, designed to make struggles at the breakfast table a thing of the past.

In the year to 31 March 2012, Duerr’s turnover rose by 10% to £59 million (€71 million), yet net profits dropped 48%.

Duerr’s directors said the figures reflected the impact of higher selling prices due to rising raw material costs. In its annual performance report, the company said the rise in costs – and subsequently turnover but not net profit – had been in line with the worldwide increase and volatility of commodity prices.

Looking to the future, Duerr’s said its new non-executive director would be instrumental in “opening new doors in the breakfast and homebaking markets”. Sharpe, a statement said, would particularly assist the three Duerr brothers by developing and implementing annual and strategic plans to achieve sales and profits targets.

Chairman Tony also announced that 2013 would see a complete rebranding of Duerr’s. 

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