Bristol-based co-operative wholesaler Essential Trading has this week announced it is updating and expanding its storage facilities for chilled and frozen goods.
Marketing manager Eli Sarre explains: “The chilled goods sector is pretty dynamic as consumers demand the freshest and healthiest convenience food on the market and manufacturers prove increasingly innovative and adventurous. Back in the 1970s – when Essential Trading was founded – it was all about tofu, but in recent years the offering has become increasingly sophisticated – from nutritious dips or dairy free desserts to coconut water with kefir and raw pomegranate juice.”
Sarre continued: “As is common knowledge, the mainstream chilled food sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in the food industry: chilled foods currently represent about 10% of all UK retail foods by value. But within this, the natural health food sector is also evolving at an even faster pace. In the past three years Essential Trading has seen 200% growth in refrigerated goods, and there is still more potential as many brands are developing exciting new products.”
Essential Trading’s refrigerated range will be enlarged with the addition of 145 products and nine new or augmented brands, inclduning: Amy’s Kitchen (a range of frozen non-dairy and vegetarian bakes and burgers); Biona (chilled fresh pasta, samosas, spring rolls, organic feta); Bute Island Sheese (vegan cheese); Clive’s Pies (“free from” pies and pasties); CO-YO Coconut Yoghurt; Marinoë chilled sea vegetable products; and Razzle Dazzle frozen dairy-free ices.
Richard Crook, Essential’s Finance Co-Director, explained: “As well as doubling our cold storage capacity we are replacing our units with more energy-efficient equipment. We’ve been planning this for some time and it’s coincided with a significant upturn in sales at Essential Trading – which have increased by 10% this year and we are expecting to turnover £13m.”
One of the biggest wholesalers in the British health food industry, and one of the largest successful worker co-operatives in the UK, Essential specialises in ethically-produced, vegetarian, organic, fair trade and “free from” wholefoods sourced from all corners of the globe. In addition to its own brand range, Essential Trading also wholesales over 400 other brands. In total over 5,500 products make up the full range including exclusive artisan brands.