We are the # 1 UK supplier of chilled Mediterranean and plant-based foods. Innovative and dynamic, we have a history of establishing and developing new categories for retail and foodservice.
Working with our customers, often becoming a virtual extension of their teams, we help them grow and lead the way in their markets.
With over 450 employees across four locations, our passionate team spans NPD, technical, supply chain, production, procurement, marketing, engineering, and warehouse, to offer the complete end-to-end process.
we’re the #1 supplier for olives, antipasti, and continental meats to the UK retail market
the year we began our plant-based journey. We’ve since been responsible for more plant-based growth than anyone else in the UK
years ago, we launched the first self-serve olive bar in a UK supermarket
nationalities work across our locations – a truly talented international workforce
– the number of supply partners, farmers and growers we work with across Europe
thousand pounds – the amount raised, for Action Against Hunger, via our unearthed® brand
We start with the world’s great food traditions and, through understanding how people shop, cook and eat, we develop fresh and flavourful products that delight them and become part of their lives.
We try to improve every stage of the supply chain by balancing efficiency, sustainability, and quality. We use technology, rigorous process, and collaborative relationships to overcome challenges where they arise, and to proactively create new ideas in manufacturing, transport, and agriculture.
Above all, we never lose sight of our mission to put delicious food on people’s plates.
Steven Higginson is our Group Strategic Growth Director. A food scientist and a massive foodie – cooking and eating – at heart.
Having started more than 3O years ago with a dream to put Mediterranean foods at the centre of family life, his ambition has been fulfilled. Still he can’t help but look out for the next delicious product though. He considers it a privilege to be working with so many like-minded partners who share our values and help us to continue this extraordinary journey.
His favourite product changes monthly, but is currently fully hooked on our Vadasz pickles and ferments .
John Lane is our Group Finance Officer, having joined in 2016. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG and subsequently spent 25 years in the food industry.
In that time he’s held a number of senior finance positions across multiple categories, covering both brand and own label, spanning customers from the major supermarkets to the independent traders. He’s enjoyed being part of the team that has continued to deliver strong organic growth through innovation, quality and passion.
His favourite product is Hand Carved Jamón Ibérico De Bellota.
Damian is our Chief Executive Officer. After spending nearly a decade learning to be a food retailer with Sainsbury he joined us in 2003 to share best practice and grow our chilled food commercial team.
Seeing the varied range of consumers who purchase our fantastic products from supermarket shelves is an element of the job that never disappoints. He enjoys being immersed in a team that discovers, innovates and manages. It makes him proud that every day of the week they bring the best tasting food from across Europe, to the UK consumer.
With so much choice his favourite Winterbotham Darby product changes on a regular basis but it is often marinated anchovies.
Simona Cascione is our Chief Commercial Officer. She joined us in 2008 and has extensive experience across all of our product categories. Driven by the belief that growth is the sweet spot of understanding the consumers’ needs, quality food and an ambitious team, she loves the excitement of our fast-paced business.
Her typical working day would include travelling in search of great food, meeting customers and find solutions to exciting ideas.
Our Giant Nocellara olives and our grilled artichokes are her favourite products.
Matt McAuliffe is our head of Product Development and Inspiration. He’s been with us since 2014 after 10 years at M&S. He counts himself lucky that he’s made his passion for all things food into a career and has an amazing range of product areas to play with.
A key part of his role is ensuring our products stay relevant to the consumers in an ever-changing and fast paced world, reinventing if they don’t and using trends to deliver the ones they didn’t know they wanted.
His favourite product (amongst a long list) is our spicy authentic Italian ‘nduja
Marco Águas is our Head of International Business Development. He joined our technical team back in 2008 and has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Mediterranean.
Fast forward and he’s now part of our expansion into the International market. Selling our products across the world and having great success with our unearthed® brand in the US.
Being Portuguese, it’s only natural that Marco’s favourite product is our unearthed® Pastel De Nata
James is one of our newest members of the team, having recently joined the plant-based family in Bicester. As Process Lead, he is responsible for launching new plant-based products and also looking at how we can improve our production processes.
Early on, he identified an area for improvement with regards to set up and operation of one of our larger mixers. This means that it will be easier to remove product from the mixer and increase yield –plus, most critically, it will reduce food waste at the site, too.
His favourite product is a plant-based (not surprisingly) firecracker chicken.
Alana is an expert Plant-Based Product Developer. A vegan for over 5 years, she was THE ideal person to develop a new plant-based ready-to-eat chicken product – initially in a small team to create the product, hone the ingredients list, test and trial the manufacturing equipment, and perfect the texture and flavour.
Post-launch, the team has now grown and they’re working hard to come up with new ideas for future launches, utilising our purpose-built plant-based factory.
It won’t surprise you to know she loves our Squeaky Bean Kick of Tikka pieces best.
Wendy wears two hats at Bicester – H&S Advisor and HR. She supports line managers with recruitment, on-boarding and induction, plus payroll and HR admin. Throughout our fit-out transition, she was supporting our 20 Bicester-based operatives, who were in local accommodation, close to our manufacturing site in Redhill.
As lockdown hit and hotels closed, accommodating these ‘key’ workers was impossible. Wendy’s solution involved a coach company who was able to transport the operatives, on a daily basis, to and from Bicester, to ensure production continued. This involved not only adapting to constantly changing government regulations but also shift patterns, provision of food for the team, and compliance with coach driver regulations. As a result, production output matched demand and workers remained fit and healthy.
Her favourite product is Squeaky Bean Sweet Smokey BBQ
Agnes works in the NPD department at our olives and antipasti site in Clitheroe. As a Process Technologist, she gets involved in all elements of a new product launch from concept, to trial and pre-production – ensuring things comply with quality, safety and product expectation.
One of our customers wanted to use a new, easy-peel film, not previously used on site. Agnes’ desire for excellence saw her spending time in production to achieve the precise settings to allow an existing film to be used. A win/win which delighted the customer.
Her favourite product is our Goat’s Cheese and Red Pepper Mezze
Chris is one of a few staff who have not only worked within several different teams but has also transferred from our head office to our olives and antipasti manufacturing site. His role is about developing and implementing ways to make the site more efficient.
He’s skilled at managing and developing team members. And his growing knowledge of manufacturing, obtained from both our Bicester and Clitheroe sites, has enabled him to create tools to measure and increase output of production and packing lines with great success. As a result, we have clearer visibility on our factory downtime and line performance.
Chris loves our award-winning Squeaky Bean Fluffy American pancakes.
Irek is based at our second site in Clitheroe. As Production Supervisor he created and manages the 20-strong team who prepare, process and pack our delicious cold brined pickles and ferments.
Not only is he a great people person and communicator, but he is always looking for ways to improve efficiency. He re-purposed a redundant piece of kit, from another site, to reduce vegetable prep time. So it now just takes one operative 2 hours, instead of three people a whole morning to prepare.
When he’s not making it, he loves eating our Vadasz Raw Garlic & Dill Sauerkraut
After moving up through the supply chain team, Sebastian is now a team leader for our Demand and Planning team. One of his roles is to ‘join up’ the supply and demand planning function by developing forecast & inventory strategies based on promotions, new lines, delists & other external events.
During a busy lockdown, he effectively managed our products, which led to our business delivering results that exceeded expectations of both ourselves and our retailers.
When we’ve a giveaway, he’ll always pick the Brunswick Ham.
Katharine is based at our site in Bicester – now our home of plant-based. She has an expert technical knowledge and her wealth of experience has ensured that our site consistently maintains a Grade AA+ rating for food safety standards from The British Retail Consortium. Also that we gain top ratings at all of our customer audits.
She’s a sucker for our Double Stuffed Halkidiki Olives but has had to accept that they won’t grow on her allotment!
Peter is responsible for processing customer & supplier orders and also arranging UK & international transport. He had the idea to streamline our transport booking process by using one of our hauliers’ portals.
This has saved him enough time to focus on order efficiency which has resulted in zero foodservice team waste.
He’s a big fan of Squeaky Bean Kick of Tikka ready-to-eat plant-based chicken pieces.