UK finalist 2020 

Paul Baker

Co-founder, St Pierre Groupe

Paul Baker

Following generations of his family into baking, at just six years old Paul could be found mixing dough in the early hours of the morning while his classmates were sleeping. After training as a traditional master baker, Paul graduated with a BSc in Food Science, bringing a combination of craft skills and science to the UK bakery market.

After joining St Pierre Groupe (formerly Carrs Foods) in 2003, Paul helped lead an MBO to take the business into private ownership.  His first significant challenge came with the financial crash of 2008 when the company was forced to make half their workforce redundant. With the pound devaluing against the euro, Paul saw an opportunity in hedging currency and finding alternatives to Sterling. The company’s export business began with Malta and Australia; however, the turning point came in 2014 when Paul spotted a gap in the US market for brioche, and, after partnering with a US distributor, he set about  understanding the US psyche with a two-week road trip in a red Dodge Challenger and a boot full of St Pierre brioche. He drove across eight States visiting a vast range of retailers. Selling brioche from the boot of the Challenger, Paul secured business from retailers who remain customers today and frequently reminisce about their memorable first meeting. Paul has grown US market in just five years and it now accounts for 60% of the brand’s volume, making St Pierre Groupe one of the UK’s top bakery exporters to America. 

St Pierre Groupe has grown significantly ever since, with 77 products listed in 35,000 stores worldwide. In 2019, St Pierre Groupe secured a £6.7m investment from BGF and partner Lloyds Bank to accelerate international growth. In recognition of its achievements St Pierre Groupe was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade and was placed in the Sunday Times International Track 200 for the fourth consecutive year.