ANYONE who was to visit Regal Foods headquarters would find it hard to believe how it all started.

The company, whose food and drink products are enjoyed across the globe, began with just one product - puff pastry fingers.

“It began with just a small amount of bakery products that were distributed to small grocery shops in and around the Bradford district,” explains the company’s marketing manager Alec Gladok.

Fast forward 20 years and the award-winning company - which is the T&A's Trader of the Week - not only has a sizeable presence at its headquarters in Wallis Street, Girlington, it supplies its products to the UK’s leading supermarket chains and to outlets across the world.

“The company set out to cater for the South Asian community in local grocery stores,” says Alec. “It soon spread across Yorkshire and it was not long before people all over the UK were keen to experience the unique taste and the delicious delights the company had to offer.”

It took just five years for Regal Foods’ products to hit the shelves in their first major supermarket. “One supermarket led to another, as other major supermarket chains featured its products on their ‘world food’ aisles,” says Alec.

One of the company’s first products to launch, and one that got the company noticed, was their cake rusk - a crunchy, double-baked cake bar that is very popular across South Asian as a snack. The firm now produces18 varieties of this tea-time treat.

“They quickly expanded their bakery lines offering puff pastries, cakes, biscuits and much more,” says Alec.

With new bakery and confectionery lines added to the range, Regal soon spread to Europe. By 2008 they hit the supermarket shelves in six other countries.

The company was keen to expand beyond bakery and confectionery and introduced a selection of tropical juices.

By 2019 Regal Foods was shipping its selection of goods to more than 50 countries including the USA and Canada.

“The taste of Regal is now on a global scale and one that has become a firm family favourite within not only South Asian households, but far beyond” says Alec.

In 2018 the bakery arm to Regal Foods, Regal Bakery, was nominated among the top ten favourite bakeries in the UK by leading food industry magazine The Grocer. Their name appeared among other major household names such as Mr Kipling and Cadbury.

The company now sells more than 100 different lines, including snacks, tropical juices, crisps, popcorn, sweets, candyfloss, condiment sauces, cooking marinades and green teas.

Over the past two decades Regal Foods have received many awards that have highlighted their success.These include Halal Manufacture of the Year, the New Products Award run by The Grocer, and the Power Business of the Year given by The English Asian Business Awards.

In 2019 CEO Younis Chaudhry was invited to the Bradford Means Business award ceremony where he was awarded the prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

“This highlighted the success of Younis in building on a brand that started out life from humble beginnings,” says Alec.

Last year, when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Bradford, Younis represented Bradford businesses at City Hall where he was introduced to the royal couple.

Last year the company announced that it was expanding its warehouse and creating new jobs. The additional space provides extra storage space for raw materials, packaging and finished goods.

For Regal Foods, an important area of work is support for both the local and wider community and for charities. It includes support for local hospices and the sponsorship of sports clubs and associations.

Earlier this year the team at Regal brought out their aprons, mixing bowls and utensils to bake cakes and buns for Marie Curie’s Blooming Great Tea Party. The event raised £1,000 for the Marie Curie Hospice in Bradford.

Overseas charities have also benefitted from their support.

“The company was extremely proud and honoured to support the Shahid Afridi Foundation in providing free school meals to children living in poverty who attend the Wadoodia Muhallah school in Karachi,” says Alec. “Free school meals were provided for 216 children living in the poorest of communities and conditions.”

The company continues to go from strength to strength. Adds Alec: “From its beginnings in Bradford, Regal Foods is proud to be marking 20 years of bringing the world a wide range of food and drink, as well as celebrating the communities and charities they work with and support.

“As the business continues to grow, the company is excited to see what the next 20 years will bring.”