Syrian bakery set to expand following demand for traditional bread

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A Syrian baker is set to expand his baking factory in the capital after a surge in demand for his traditional Mediterranean bread.

Abdullah Razzouk set up in Taza Bake in August 2014 in Leith, after struggling to find any suppliers of traditional Syrian fare in Scotland.

After investing money to buy ovens and kick start the bakery – the first in its kind in Scotland – Razzouk began production in 2015, selling around 500 packets a week.

Now, due to rising demand for healthier breads, the company regularly ships thousands per week.

The flat breads, known as Khobez, are made using a 5,000-year-old recipe with no additives or chemicals, and have become hugely popular with restaurants, wholesalers and shops.

Now, the baking factory is set to expand into a second premises next door, giving Razzouk and his team the chance to more bread and Manakesh, a type of traditional Syrian pie.

Razzouk, who still works full-time in the financial services industry as well as running his bakery, said that his turnover could more than double should two new deals with two leading supermakerts go through.

He said: “Since launching two years ago, the business has seen demand soar as shops and restaurants respond to customer demand for healthy breads that are chemical-free and freshly stone baked like ours.

“This process kills off bacteria and yeast and in turn limits bloating and other digestive issues.

“We’ve also seen an increase in orders from Syrian nationals who have recently arrived in Scotland.”

Razzouk, who left Syria in 2009 before settling in Scotland two years ago, pointed out that though the bakery distribute their products to major cities in northern England, there “is still a huge market here in Scotland” and that he was working with Business Gateway Edinburgh to plan how best to tap into it.

He added: “Right from the start Business Gateway has given me invaluable advice, including the market research that not only saved me a lot of time, it gave me the confidence to invest the initial £140k to buy ovens and kick start the bakery.

“Since then my adviser has connected me with marketing consultants, IT experts and organised a strategy workshop that has helped me move my business forward.

Without that input and guidance I would have found setting up much more time consuming.”

In December last year, another Edinburgh baker Nour Taleb, who had fled the civil war in Syria after his shop and home were bombed, struggled to cope with the demand for his hand made pastries which had proven enormously popular with the customers at The Loft Cafe and Bakery in Haddington.

Taleb, who had found work at the café, said his family was settling in well in the capital and that he hoped to be able to eventually launch his own bakery in the area.