Founded in 1982 by Tom Walker, the business began as a small wholesaler, supplying local independent retailers and delicatessens. 1989 saw the move to Thorpe Leazes Farm, on the outskirts of Stockton-on-Tees, where the business continues operations. We now specialise in cheese packing, co-packing, and national UK distribution as well as seasonal gift packaging and bespoke solutions.
The Albex Group acquired the business in 2020 and is one of Europe’s largest food ingredient distributors. This allows us to be forward-thinking, strategic, and robust, whilst maintaining our family identity, strong ethics, and personability.
Peter Walker and Pauline Chapman, along with Lydia Walker and Nick Reader retired from the business. Mike Walker remained ensuring a smooth transition and handover.
Tom Walker & Sons Ltd. was acquired by HMS, the independently owned parent company of food ingredient distributors Kent Foods, BFP, Henley Bridge Ingredients, Garrett Ingredients and Bailey’s of Portsmouth. It continues as a stand-alone business, with Russell Eley taking over as Managing Director.
We replaced machinery in both of our High Care areas to increase our cutting and packing capabilities. The addition of the two Ilapak Astras means that we can wrap up to 4000 units an hour!
We added to our packing repertoire by purchasing a PFM Tornado gas-flushing high throughput flow-wrapper, improving our ability to pack hard-pressed cheeses.
In 1998, we had planted 1,400 native trees over 2 hectares of land at Thorpe Leazes Farm. To celebrate our 25th year in business, we transformed the area with the construction of a woodland walkway, which we named 'The Joan Walker Way'. Bird boxes were installed to encourage wildlife, together with memorial arbours for staff who have died in our service.
The site went through more development in the space of a few years, as it saw the addition of a 'Low-Risk Snacking Suite', a netting line, a mezzanine packaging store and the building of High Care Two. High Care Two was a key addition, as in 2004, we took on a large contract with Elite Imports to pack Cambozola for all the major retailers.
Tom Walker retired in 1997. He had been supported since the start by his children Peter, Mike and Pauline, who then took full ownership of the business.
While we had carried out limited packing operations at Thorpe Leazes Farm, in 1993, we invested in the transformation of the rooms which today make up 'High Care One'. This allowed us to move into the cutting and packing of white-mould cheeses and expanded our capabilites. We had also been working on the conversion of the 'Grainstore' into one of our premises' main assets, with lots of space for storage and assembly.
We bought the Thorpe Leazes Farm site in July 1988, which was a dilapidated set of farm buildings. After drastic transformation, we began to operate the business from the site in January 1989.
We had a unit at Preston Farm in Stockton, from which our wholesale business was run. We operated as a regional cheese wholesaler, developing business with regional multiples and co-operatives, department stores and independent delicatessens.
Tom Walker forms Tom Walker & Sons, relying on knowledge built from working in the industry since 1946.
Contact us if you need industry expertise, packing solutions with a flexible approach or have a new project you’d like to discuss.