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British Industrial History

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Ginsters

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Ginsters is a company based in Callington in Cornwall, and claims to be the biggest selling pasty maker in the UK

The Ginsters family were farmers in the small Cornish town of Callington. In 1967 they started buying in fresh pies and pasties to sell by van sales to various local retail outlets. After a while, founder and head of the company, Geoffrey Ginster saw the limitations of this trade and decided that the family itself should start manufacturing pasties. They started the business in a near-derelict egg-packing station, with a staff of four. Geoffrey Ginster started production of pasties from a 'secret recipe' he claimed to have obtained from a ship's cook.

Production slowly increased until by 1970 a staff of 30 was producing 48,000 units a day. Initially Ginsters pasties were sold to pubs, cafés, corner shops and other small stores in Plymouth and nearby seaside towns, before expanding further to cover southern England.

In 1977, Geoffrey Ginster retired and sold the business to Samworth Brothers, leading to further growth, modernisation and development. An adjoining factory was acquired, renovated, and equipped with modern baking and packing facilities. It was renamed the Tamar Bakery and later extended with new, largely automated, machinery installed. When it went into operation the original Ginsters bakery was closed.

In 1984, Ginsters was producing 1.5 million pasties a week and had become the biggest employer in East Cornwall’s private sector.

In 1987 a new bakery, named Lynher bakery after the nearby River Lynher, was built alongside the Tamar Bakery.

In 1990, Ginsters commenced advertising and promotional campaigns to raise awareness of their product among the public. This resulted in Ginsters Original Cornish Pasty being stocked by leading supermarkets, petrol stations, convenience stores and motorway service stations across Britain. Ginsters claim that their Original Cornish Pasty is the biggest selling product in the savoury pastry market, and that during a twenty-year period 450 million of them have been sold.

Ginsters’ most popular product is the Original Cornish Pasty. The pasty was granted protected geographical indication (PGI) status from the European Union in 2011. This product is still made using Ginsters’ original recipe. Since the 1990s the product range has been extended to include a variety of pasties, savoury slices, sausage rolls, pork pies, hot pies, snacks, sandwiches, flatbreads, wraps and packaged salads. Ginsters claim to source their ingredients from neighbouring farms in Cornwall

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