68% international growth for compostable packaging manufacturer Vegware
The Scottish SME’s strong 2019-2020 performance provides resilience against foodservice lockdowns, whilst Covid drives demand for hygienic sustainable disposables.
Vegware, the global specialist in plant-based compostable foodservice disposables, has reported a 43 per cent growth in sales to £45.9 million for the year to 31st January 2020.
The Edinburgh SME saw demand increase in UK and overseas markets, especially Europe. Its latest accounts for the 12 months to the end of January 2020 show UK sales up by 28 per cent to £26.7 million, with international sales rising by 68 per cent to £19.2 million.
Growth in Europe was particularly strong and Vegware opened a new warehouse in the Netherlands. Sales in its American business more than doubled in only its second full year of trading.
“Growing 43 per cent in a year is a fantastic result,” commented Vegware founder and CEO Joe Frankel. “It validates our mission, and reflects the global appetite for high quality foodservice packaging which drives a sustainability agenda as well as ensuring hygiene.
“We are now selling in over 70 countries and are Scotland’s top exporter in the Sunday Times International Track 200. We are in the process of expanding the footprint of our Dutch warehouse to support rapid sales growth expected as the EU bans unsustainable plastics from 2021.
“We measure our impact in other ways too: trade composting collections for Vegware now cover 71% of the UK’s urban population, serving 54 of the UK’s largest cities. We are also working with composters in Ireland, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia, the US and many markets where biowaste is seen as a key part of the circular economy.
“As for many businesses, the past six months have been a stress-test for Vegware with workplace catering, universities and global hospitality closed in the face of widespread lock-downs.
“As we have grown through the years, we have continually reinvested in production efficiency, capacity and systems. This ensured that we had the resilience to continue to support our clients through the shocks of the Covid pandemic.
“Covid has caused significant disruption though has also brought a renewed focus on the hygiene guaranteed by single-use products. This combined with an appetite for sustainable solutions has allowed us to win new business, support new sectors and give us a robust view on our future outlook.
“2020 has required rapid adaptation to new ways of working and market realities. An exceptional team plus our strong relationships with our suppliers, clients, investors and wider stakeholders meant that this was possible, and we have come through with a stronger and more efficient enterprise than ever before.
“The Covid-related lock-downs had major impacts on revenue through late spring and early summer, such that for the first year since 2006 we don’t expect to increase year on year revenue. However we have rebuilt since summer, are now trading above the same periods last year and see continued growth as we plan 2021.
“We are grateful to our clients with whom we have had to work very closely, our suppliers who have been called upon to flex in regard to raw material and to our bank, Santander, for their support through a challenging period.”
The manufacturer provides its plant-based products to customers ranging from independent cafés and universities to international food service operators. Founded in 2006, it sells in over 70 countries, with bases in Britain, United States, Hong Kong and Australia.