Who we are

Plant-based vegetarian burger with sundried tomatoes and red onion picklesWe 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.

Did you know?

1

we’re the #1 supplier for olives, antipasti, and continental meats to the UK retail market

2018

the year we began our plant-based journey. We’ve since been responsible for more plant-based growth than anyone else in the UK

20

years ago, we launched the first self-serve olive bar in a UK supermarket

27

nationalities work across our locations – a truly talented international workforce

593

– the number of supply partners, farmers and growers we work with across Europe

787

thousand pounds – the amount raised, for Action Against Hunger, via our unearthed® brand

Our vision

Our vision

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.

Our culture

Working in our business is sometimes challenging, but always exciting and rewarding.

Whether at a manufacturing site or at our head office, the sense of ‘one family’ is strong. Projects bringing together cross-functional and cross-site teams are delivering superior results and we’re proud of everything we achieve.

We’re constantly evolving and growing, but our business is always driven by our passion – to deliver happiness through food.

Join our team

Our culture

Our team

Here are just a few of the passionate individuals who work in our business across our locations.

 
Steven Higginson - CEO

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 - CFO

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 Shaw - CCO

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 Commercial Director

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 Aguas - Head of International Business Development

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 - Process lead

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 - plant based development specialist

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 - H&S Advisor and HR

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 - NPD process technologist

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 - Innovation, efficiency and improvement

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 - Senior production Supervisor

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

 
Seb_supply and demand planning

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 - technical manager

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 - customer co-ordinator and satisfaction

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.

Our instagram

Follow us

We're big fans of the med diet and the tomato is so integral to that. So today we're closing our eyes, opening a pot of @foodsunearthed slow roasted tomatoes and savouring the memories of being somewhere warm and sunny. Extremely versatile, they can be enjoyed straight out of the pot, or are great as an ingredient - just like in these cous-cous and roasted tomato stuffed peppers. How do you prefer to eat yours? ...

📣 If you're vegan, a flexitarian or just like tasty food - then this is one for you. New ready-to-eat @squeakybeanveg Chargrilled🔥 Cajun Mini Fillets. No messing around. The taste and texture are a game changer. Well done to the plant-based team for creating something magical - now available in 200 @asda stores ...

Happy day of chocolate 🍫 . Celebrate with pimped up pancakes plus a drizzle of chocolate sauce and fruit. Oh and to top it off we added cream. But this isn't just any old pancake stack - it's a VEGAN stack (check out our very own @squeakybeanveg) as it's all plant-based on here. Enjoy your day and tell us what you're eating? ...

With a long weekend ahead of us, we can take it easy right? More time for lazy mornings which means a nice brunch. We've made ours with smoked brunswick ham, but you could add prosciutto, parma or speck for a touch of decandce. Add tea, coffee or juice and RELAX 🍳 ☕ ...

🐟 If you love fish then this is one for you - pan fried cod with roasted vegetables, rosemary roasted potatoes and sliced chorizo. Chorizo is one of our most popular continental meat products. Many years on after we first launched it to the UK retail market consumers love it just as much as they always have done. What's your favourite way to eat chorizo? happy Friday 🐟 ...

📣 The long awaited shortlist for the @foodphotoaward is now live!! 📷 This year has seen a bumper crop of gorgeously creative entries. We're delighted to see what's in our 'Food For Sale' category. So grab a drink, click above and scroll through to see what gorgeous images have been shortlisted. Is one of yours on there - let us know? Click the link in our bio to go straight to our 'Food for Sale' category ⬆️ ...

We understand consumers and we know that on shelf appeal and pack stand-out is so important. After research and trial, our @foodsunearthed brand have re-designed their packs using stronger, eye catching use of colour and a disruptive use of pattern (we love that nod to the Med too). Look out for new olive packs in @waitrose and @ocadouk. What's your favourite? ...

It's might be #BritishPieWeek but we think it's perfectly acceptable to add a little continental twist. Our pancetta, either smoked or unsmoked, is great to add to add flavour. Just like in this chicken & mushroom pie. The ultimate in comfort, made with authentic ingredients. We deliver happiness through food. What's your favourite pie? ...

Today is National Pig Day. Our welfare journey began in 2000 & since then we've been improving the welfare of pigs by working with @CIWF

We're committed to the following: + considerably more space for each pig + larger breeding facilities for each sow + free farrowing and +no pigs subjected to tail docking or teeth clipping.

These commitments have led to us, along with some of closest farming partners, to win awards and achieve what was considered 'impossible' in Europe. We thank them all for their dedication and pledge to continue the work with them.
...

What does the future of sustainable pig farming look like? Why not join our webinar on Fri 26th March (09.45 - 12.00 GMT) and find out. We’ll set the scene on the future for food, sustainability and livestock, share some case studies, but also talk about how we can validate the data. Plus we’ll run a panel discussion to wrap things up. 🐷 🐖

The line-up includes speakers from Food Ethics Council, University of Leeds and Authenticate, as well as a panel discussion hosted by CIEL Livestock. Click the link in our bio to register. ⬆️
...

We've done it! We've won 'Plant Based Manufacturing Company of the Year' at the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards. Great recognition for a mammoth project. We spotted a gap in the plant-based market for ready-to-eat chicken style pieces so created a unique product (@squeakybeanveg) with great taste and texture. We secured investment & fitted out a brand new 100% plant-based site to manufacture it - all in 13 months. So great to get recognition for that. Congratulations to the entire #team ...

Quick quiz..🤔 You knew this was a) plant-based and b) that you could get this kind of deliciousness in a box, delivered to your door, ready to cook? Right? If not then check out @hellofreshuk who now include @vivera_UK in their plant-based boxes. Big thumbs up to our #foodservice team who have been involved in the project too. ...

Food photographers, YOU could be in amongst this prestigious collection of previous @foodphotoaward winners. You've got just 3 days left to enter. The judges will be presented with a shortlist, then sift through the category entries to select the winning photo. Each category winner is then put forward to be in the running for Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year. It's a unique award which carries prestige. So don't delay. We're proud to sponsor the 'Food for Sale' category and can't wait to see the entries. ...

📣 Listen up people 📣 exciting announcement. This month on @squeakybeanveg, we've handed over the creative reins to 28 different vegan influencers/foodies who will be showing consumers how fun, tasty and easy it is to enjoy plant-based eating. Cue some drool-inducing images and fantastic gastronomic delights. ...

After a busy week, fresh pasta and sauce (from our Soli brand) is the perfect solution. Authentically Italian, they are delicious, hassle free and super quick, giving you more time to relax. What could be better? Here we've got Aubergine, Mozzarella and Roasted Tomato ravioli paired with our spicy arrabiata sauce and at the back Strozzapreti with basil pesto sauce. What's your favourite pasta dish? PS you can find the Solil range @waitrose and @ocadouk ...

Chipotle cauliflower tacos, veggie stuffed baked potatoes and chocolate orange traybakes - just a selection of the #vegan delights we've seen on colleagues' @instagram feeds as they take on the @weareveganuary challenge. In our latest blog we catch up with some of them to find out what motivated them to get on board, tell us their favourite vegan recipes and share some tips for staying motivated. See the link in our bio https://bit.ly/3bT10CP ...

Just a couple of weeks left to perfect your entries for the @foodphotoaward. We're proud sponsors of the 'Food For Sale' category and the judges are looking for the very best shots of food for sale, be it a farmers market in France, spices in Senegal, macaroons in a chic Parisian emporium or coconut pancakes from a Thai floating market. Images of buying and selling food in shops and on the street anywhere in the world. For more details on how to enter, click the link in our bio ☝🏼 ☝🏾 ...

However you like to eat, our delicious range of olives and vegetable antipasti products are perfect if you want to make your own pizza. You could keep it simple. Or add some flavour with salami, nduja or chorizo. And for those of you who like to eat plant-based you can get creative with our range plant-based marinated chicken style pieces. Something for everyone. We're passionate about delivering happiness through food. ...

yet ANOTHER launch, perfect if you're doing @weareveganuary. Or just because. Our @squeakybeanveg have launched Crispy Duck style pieces (plus hoisin & pancakes) for the ultimate in plant-based, tasty eating (without the stress of booking a takeaway slot). Head to @waitroseandpartners to enjoy ...