Our Local Heritage

Ormo electric vans

So how come ORMO is one of the leading morning goods brands in Northern Ireland today?

Put simply, its founder was a man way ahead of his time.  Robert Wilson set up the original Ormeau Bakery in 1875, revolutionising the way that bread was made and distributed.  He was passionate about baking the highest quality products, and it is this passion that remains to this day among the 400 strong workforce at Hovis Bakeries in Belfast baking fresh Ormo products every day.

Robert Wilson used only the best raw materials, spending more on ingredients than any other bakery. At one time, Ormeau Bakery owned two dairy farms in Northern Ireland and a flour mill in Malta!

Ormeau Bakery also spent a lot on state of the art machinery. It installed terrazzo floors and use stainless steel for its trays and table tops. The bakery even had its own laboratory where the quality and hygiene of all ingredients were tested.  Its hygiene standards were unrivalled.

Packaging and Distribution also received care and attention.  Ormeau Bakery was the first in Ireland to introduce machinery that automatically wrapped a loaf.  This was much more hygienic and guaranteed freshness. On the distribution side, in the mid 1930s, Ormeau invested in 50 electric vans to speed up delivery and ensure that the bread was always delivered to its destination in perfect condition.

The bakery may have moved from the original site, and is now owned by Hovis, but it strives to stay true to the heritage and traditions of the brand, while listening to today’s customers.

Time line

1875 – Robert Wilson establishes a bakery, using the Ormo brand

1890 – New Ormo bakery built in Ballynafeigh, Belfast

1906 – Won gold and bronze medals at the London Bakers Exhibition

1907 – Won the British bakers shield for batch bread

1926 – First in HOVIS bread competition among 7000 entrants

1928 – First prize at the London Bakers’ Exhibition for a decorated wedding cake

1929 – First bakery to use terrazzo floors, stainless steel dough troughs and table tops

1935 – First bakery in Ireland to introduce electric vans for delivery

1940 – First privately owned bakery to set up a laboratory for testing ingredients

1964 – First self service bakery shop in UK

1974 – Largest pan bread plant in Ireland installed

1980 – Isaac Andrews buys the Ormo bakery

2002 – RHM (Rank Hovis McDougall) buys the company

2004 – Ormo Bakery leaves the Ormeau Road site and moves to a 22,0000 sq m production facility on Apollo Rd in South Belfast

2007 – Premier Foods acquires RHM

2014 – Premier Foods reaches agreement on a stand-alone joint venture with the Gores Group, to grow the bread business, forming Hovis Ltd.