Fresh Growth – Led by Shoppers
We’ve evolved and grown a lot but one thing remains constant – we take our lead from consumers’ changing needs.
It all started in 1994 when we started producing salad for Tesco, with just one wash line and two staff packing the leaves into bags.
Today we operate three manufacturing units, produce over 190 million units a year and handle over 41,000 tonnes of finished product – from leafy salads to potato salads, coleslaw, noodles, quinoa and protein-based salad meals.
We have extended our product range from 1 SKU to 173 SKUs, and grown our workforce from the original twenty employees to nearly one thousand members of staff across our sites.
We live in a world where consumer tastes and shopping habits change fast. Our new product ideas – based on insight and the application of new manufacturing technologies – have helped us stay ahead of the game, and grow. And as we’ve grown, so have our relationships with our suppliers, customers the local community and the environment.
We are proud to say that our approach has worked: over the course of the last year alone, we’ve seen significant growth in a tough retail climate and where the pace of change is faster than most people in the food industry have ever seen. With strong market share in our core categories, plus strong share growth in the newer emerging categories, our move into other fresh convenient food categories is working. Our decision to build Merston 2012 was spot on – it has boosted our output by 350%.
The open, collaborative working culture, fostered by CEO Susan Barratt, has been instrumental in the company’s recent successes.
The focus has been on evolving a professional level of board governance and gently steering the company from small family-run business to a FMCG fresh convenient food manufacturer – all while keeping true to the entrepreneurial and spirited culture of the business.
As a successful professional food manufacturing business, Natures Way Foods has the right structure and governance in place, but crucially maintains the culture of a smaller business – with agility, flexibility and a culture where opportunities can be seized. Meanwhile the working culture has evolved, and despite the pace the market demands, everyone knows they will be supported to develop and succeed. We actively celebrate and encourage diversity and individualism – not straightforward in a fast-growing business – but crucial for cohesiveness.
The company’s cohesiveness has played a big part its growth. This is helped by a reward structure that ties personal bonuses to the performance of the business as a whole rather than the individual. It makes for a strong, cross-functional way of working, all aligned around common goals and objectives.
Long-term growth is where our focus is now. To achieve this ambition we continue with the approach that has worked for us for the last 21 years: walking in the shoes of our consumers. This will ensure we keep up with a rapidly changing market and continue to provide consumers, and our customers, with what they want.
These are exciting times for Natures Way Foods.