Our history

  • Soreen

    Believe it or not, we’ve just turned 79 years young, and reaching this grand age has got us reminiscing.
    We may just be a humble fruit loaf, but we’ve had such an exciting history and we can’t help but share it.
    So flick the kettle on, butter up a slice of you-know-what, and immerse yourself in our unique tale…

  • 1893 – 1920

    1893 – 1920

    Way back in 1893, Soreen’s creator Mr John Rahbek Sorensen was born. Originally from
    Denmark, Sorensen arrived in the UK after an epic journey from Melbourne in 1920.

  • 1932 – 1934

    1932 – 1934

    In 1932, Rahbek bought a property on Drake Street in Hulme, Manchester. Two years later he set
    up John Sorensen Bakery Equipment & Co, selling everything from pastry brakes to bun
    dividers.

  • 1935 – 1937

    1935 – 1937

    Over the next few years, John went on to purchase further properties, including a little place in Beswick, Manchester.
    It was here that John started to sell his own baked goods.

    Becoming something of a local legend, John baked his way through every type of cake imaginable,
    but it was his ‘Sorensen Malt Cake’ that shot him to fame.
    Soon, word of this squidgy loaf spread, and John would often have a queue of hungry customers outside his shop.

  • 1938

    1938

    In 1938 John met with William Mason, a local manufacturer of bakery ovens. By the end of the meeting,
    John had sold the bakery business for £300. With this, Imperial Bakeries Limited (Manchester)
    was formed with William and his wife Peggy as the company directors.
    However, John’s legacy lived on in the trading name; Soreen.

  • 1940

    1940

    Despite the breakout of World War II and the strict rationing of ingredients, by the early 1940’s,
    Imperial Bakeries was a successful business with one oven, four bakery staff and two shop assistants.
    Apart from the mixing, all products were made by hand and delivered in a
    small sales van to local shops within a five-mile radius.

  • 1942

    1942

    Unfortunately, this progress was brought to an end in 1942, when a Blitz bomb reduced the bakery to rubble.
    Thankfully, all the staff were on holiday for oven maintenance so no one was hurt.

    Larger premises were found in Buckley Street, Higher Openshaw, and production resumed.
    Once out of the oven, each loaf was hand wrapped with a single sheet of waxed paper,
    adorned with a red Soreen logo and a bunch of purple grapes to illustrate the inclusion of fruit. Sound familiar?

  • 1980's

    1980's

    In the 1980’s Soreen focused its marketing efforts on promoting the health benefits of its growing product range, and how the complex carbs contained in each loaf were perfect for providing longer lasting energy. Soreen also teamed up with Adidas, who supported Soreen’s new ‘health’ campaign with joint adverts and competition prizes.

  • 1999

    Soreen signed to become a sponsor of the North West, First Division football team, Bolton Wanderers. Being local to the Soreen bakery, staff would often travel to watch home matches to cheer the team on and see the Soreen brand advertised at the pitch side and within the match programme.

  • 2000

    2000

    Soreen became the official sponsor of Leigh Centurions Rugby team. With this, Soreen branded was included in adverts, the match programme, media and there were numerous photo opportunities with the team. The Centurions would be sent regular bulk amounts of Soreen product to feed their enormous appetites and to fuel their training sessions.

  • 2006

    2006

    Soreen kept up their commitment to healthy living and sport and in 2006 a four-year sponsorship deal was struck with up and coming, and soon to be Olympic cycling

    champion, Sir Chris Hoy. It was the ideal opportunity to boost Soreen’s health credentials and Sir Chris would attend events such as Race for life and Tour of Britain as an ambassador for Soreen.

  • 2010

    2010

    Soreen broke the world record for the most power generated by cyclists within a 24 hour period of pedalling. On 2nd October, after 24 hours of peddling at the Manchester Velodrome, the Soreen team had produced 72, 414 watt hours meaning that they were World Record holders.

  • 2014 – present day

    2014 – present day

    Over the years, Soreen has continued to grow. In 2014 we joined the Samworth Brothers family,
    who have provided enough investment to ensure that we can continue on our yellow brick road.
    Our business may have come along way, but Soreen’s history clearly demonstrates one thing –
    if a product is great, it will last the test of time. Here’s to another 79 years.

Our history

Our people

At the heart of any business is its people and we’ve got a brilliant bunch here at our bakery, they’re always happy to help one another and keep our bakery a happy place. Some of our employees have been with us for all of their working lives. This is something very rare in this day and age, and is therefore very special to us.

Soreen Team
Graham Murray

Graham Murray (Master Baker)

Graham, or ‘Dr. Soreen’ as he’s affectionately known, has worked at our Bakery for 33 years, and just like his Father, Bob, (who worked at Soreen before him), there isn’t a thing that Graham doesn’t know about Soreen, and if there is, then it probably isn’t worth knowing.

Graham is our ‘Master Baker’, and ensures that every bite of Soreen product is as deliciously squidgy as it should be.

In addition to the expertise he lends to our bakery, Graham helps mentor more junior members of the bakery team to ensure their development and safe working. There really is no better man for the job!

Stefan Urban

Stefan Urban

Stefan started his employment with Soreen in 2004 aged 17, just after finishing school and before he started college (the day after passing his driving test to be exact!). Back then Stefan used to work at the bakery each weekend, cleaning the machinery whilst production was stopped to get everything nice and shiny.

After college, Stefan went to University to study Marketing and once he’d graduated he was keen to put his degree in to practice. Stefan was eager to stay at Soreen and enquired about a job in the Marketing dept. After the exchange of a few emails and some brief meetings he was given the role of Marketing Exec.

Now 30 years old, Stefan still works for Soreen and has progressed to Assistant Brand Manager. If you’ve ever chatted to us on social media (@SoreenHQ) there’s a good chance you’ve been talking to him!

Heather Gaskell

Heather Gaskell

Heather is responsible for ensuring that our bakery provides a safe working environment for our employees. Always on the lookout for areas that can be improved, we all know that we’re in safe hands.

Mark Simester

Mark Simester

When Mark isn’t at the bakery ensuring the smooth running of the Soreen business, he can be found spending time with his family or representing Soreen doing some form of sports activity – usually eating a Malt Loaf Bar to keep his energy levels up.

Mark is a real people person and is obsessed with talking to anyone he meets about Soreen and looking for suggestions on how he can improve the business. If you’ve got any suggestions for Mark why not drop him a line HERE – he’d be delighted to hear from you!