Just as we are all donning our woolly hats and gloves to brave the winter chill, there’s brrrrrilliant news from Bristol-based Essential Trading where things are particularly frosty! The co-operative is updating and expanding its storage facilities for chilled and frozen goods.
Marketing manager Eli Sarre explains: “Far from being frozen, 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.”
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. Within this, the natural health food sector is also evolving at an encouraging pace. In the past 3years 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 is a nationwide Co-operative Wholesaler, Manufacturer and Distributor, with additional international distribution. One of the most established suppliers in the British health food industry, and one of the largest successful worker co-operatives in the UK, it 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 and superfood health heroes.
Essential Trading is expanding its refrigerated range by 145 products and 9 new or augmented brands. Here’s just a taste of what’s on offer:
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 chilled vegan ‘cheese’
Clive’s Pies a delicious range of ‘free from’ pies and pasties
CO-YO Coconut Yoghurt dairy-free range of yoghurts made from coconut milk
Fry’s frozen vegetarian alternatives including sausages, burgers and pies
Marinoë chilled sea vegetable products
Natural Cool frozen organic veg and fruit, plus oven chips, many Demeter certified
Natural Vitality chilled fresh hummus, soup, dip
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.”
That’s warming news for the company, and for the natural health industry.