What started out as an organic food supplier for the Health Food trade in the 1970’s, has transformed itself into a £60million business which cuts across raw ingredients and own label packaged products through to the distribution of ten retail brands, supplying major grocery multiples with a selection of niche natural and organic products for discerning customers.
Community Foods’ core business is intrinsically linked with raw ingredients, as Martin Rome, Community Foods Managing Director explains: “Our ingredients expertise includes specialist global sourcing and unique origin partnerships, which has and continues to allow us to source top quality dried fruits, nuts, seeds, pulses and related products. Our dedicated Technical team is multi-disciplined enabling us to provide extensive support to suppliers throughout our supply chain giving us true visibility from field to fork. Traceability is a key watch word in everything we do and in fact we have technical people working alongside our ingredients suppliers in the field to ensure all the produce fit EU and UK regulations including Soil Association verification.
“Raw ingredients will always be part of Community Foods DNA, but we are working towards the business being split 50% raw ingredients/packaged products and 50% branded products to achieve higher margins and better value. Ingredients will always have their place but the market is more volatile and therefore, by balancing the emphasis of the business, we can ensure the long term commercial success of Community Foods”, comments Martin.
“Interestingly, the Company has always been involved in brands, taking niche products such as Green & Black’s Chocolate and Clipper Tea when they first launched and helping to turn them into grocery stalwarts. Today, Community Foods is dedicated to building its brand offering and currently has five brands and five partner brands. All are designed to help consumers make healthier lifestyle choices and cater for an increasingly wide range of dietary needs. The brand portfolio consists of Crazy Jack Organic, a high quality organic dried fruit, nuts, seeds and pulses brand, Sanchi, a Japanese specialist cooking range including soy sauces and crackers; Organic tinned tomatoes and passatta range Tarantella, Jumble Bee dried fruit snacking range which comes in bold packaging and Natural Days, a conventional baking brand and a Community Foods own label range. Partner brands include Orgran – an extensive “free from” range, Bonsoy, Le Pain Des Fleurs, Shady Maple Syrup and Barley Cup.
“While our premise has always been to create a natural & organic offering, the UK is actually far behind the rest of Europe when it comes to buying organic. In the UK, organic is considered a premium product, but in the rest of Europe organic products are a lifestyle choice with consumers believing that it is safer for their families as they are free of pesticides and are therefore healthier”, explains Martin. “Our top quality brands are doing really well and have seen growth of 15% year on year.
“Community Foods is always on the look-out for new brands, travelling the Globe to source new and interesting products. We are dedicated to growing this part of the business and coupled with our existing offering, it will ensure Community Foods continues to be at the forefront of organic and natural products, catering for an increasingly wide range of dietary needs and lifestyle choices,” concludes Martin.