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 Chief Executive Officer.   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 Chief 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 Commercial 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 Commercial Director. 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

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 ...

📣 📸 Calling all food photographers , videographers and food stylists- there is now less than a month to go until entries close for the @foodphotoaward. We are very proud to sponsor the 'Food For Sale' category. But would encourage anyone thinking about entering any of the 25 categories to GO FOR IT! You could win a category (like @zayyarlin84) or even be crowned Food Photographer of the Year (like @kmasad) and take home a £5k prize and a load of fantastic opportunities. Give it a go - 2021 might be your year! ...

Is that more or less than you thought? 🤔 Our Senior Insight Analyst, Alex, has been looking at how the lockdown has affected consumer retail grocery habits and impacted eating at home. To read more click the link in our bio 👆 ...

Last but NOT least are @squeakybeanveg ready-to-eat Garlic and Herb Chicken Style pieces. Available now at @waitroseandpartners - they're perfect for adding to dishes or just snack out of the pack. Another great way to make the plant-based switch even easier this #veganuary ...

Ok....launch #2. Meet @squeakybeanveg Chinese style ribs, with a delicious sticky sauce. Another one ready in just 5 minutes and these will make the plant-based switch even easier. The brand's first beef alternative is available in @sainsburys. What are you waiting for?? ...

New year and we've some delicious #plantbased launches - perfect if you're doing @weareveganuary. @squeakybeanveg are definitely your sidekick if you're hoping for all the taste but none of the meat. Meet the Katus Curry chicken-style pieces that are available in @sainsburys. With an aromatic sauce they're ady to eat in just 5 mins!! ...

Slightly different to previously billed, this new year's eve is a much quieter affair for everyone. Whether you're cooking up something special, ordering in or just enjoying a glass of something - we wish you a Happy New Year. We're making the most of the leftover Christmas olives! ...

Today when some of the team are enjoying the bank holiday, we say thanks to those who are working and it’s business as usual. Production & manufacturing, warehouse, supply chain & logistics colleagues. Making sure our tasty olives, antipasti, pickles and plant-based products reach the shelves.

#clitheroe #bicester #redhill #team
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Leftovers, bubble & squeak, cold cuts, picky food, nibbles - whatever you want to call them! Our meats, olives and pickles are just PERFECT over the festive period. Relax, enjoy and take the strain out of the day. What's on your menu today? ...

A Happy Christmas from us to you. Here's to loved ones, friends and family - both near and far. ...

Instead of sending Christmas cards we've opted to donate to a fantastic cause @trusselltrust - working to stop UK hunger and poverty. Their network of foodbanks provide emergency food and support to people in crisis. Sadly there's never been such demand and so we want to do our bit to help. We still want to wish all of our contacts, followers, partners and customers a Merry Christmas. After a tough year Christmas won't be like it normally is, but we hope everyone has a chance to connect with loved ones and here's hoping for a brighter 2021. Take care of yourselves ...

Out of a number of our Christmas launches, this Bresaola Beef Carpaccio is a particularly tasty one - available at @marksandspencer. Just open and enjoy after adding the parmesan shavings, balsamic & olive oil drizzle. Even better if you have the patience to add it to a lovely serving plate (as opposed to straight out of the pack). ...

Do you mix and match your charcuterie? We love any combination of serrano, chorizo, speck or salami on a sharing platter with cheese, crackers, olives and grapes. Even if your Christmas is going to be a more modest affair or there will be less of you eating, you could still build a board. Go on, give it a try and let us know what'll be on there? ...

Another exciting launch 🚀 🎉📣 this time from @vadaszdeli with their Super Green Kimchi. Absolutely delicious, full of great gut-ness and available in @waitroseandpartners ...

“Awesome” is how the judges described our award winning @squeakybeanveg fluffy American style pancakes at today’s @thegrocerofficial #NewProductAwards.
Whoop whoop. We second that.
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