SALAD producer Natures Way Foods celebrated 20 years in business this week.
Originally founded in 1994 by brothers Robert and David Langmead, the company started life in a small production unit supplying bagged salads to Tesco at a time when prepared produce was in its infancy.
In the past two decades, Natures Way has grown to become one of Chichester’s major employers, helping to bring jobs and prosperity to the region.
It now has more than 800 permanent employees and last year recorded an annual turnover of £123m.
With factories in Selsey, Runcton and Merston, it is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of prepared salads and fruits to major supermarkets such as Tesco, Morrisons and ASDA, and food service companies such as McDonalds and Pret a Manger, to name a few.
The firm also tries to connect with the community, especially through its Field to Fork campaign, where it works with schools to educate children about food production.
It recently ran a cookery competition with local schools, and North Mundham Primary School won £2,00 worth of cookery equipment.
To celebrate 20 years in business, Natures Way Foods planned a week of special events for employees and customers.
On Monday (May 12), senior directors from Tesco visited the company’s sites and celebrated the strong relationship the two companies have forged over the years.
On Friday, all employees will join the Investment Board in a day of celebrations, and the longest-serving member of staff, Alan Richardson, who joined in 1994, will be presented with a commemorative plaque.
“We are extremely proud of our achievements over the past 20 years and the growth the business has enjoyed,” said Susan Barratt, CEO of the firm.
“Natures Way Foods is a thriving company with a key role to play in the Chichester economy and community.
“Most of our employees are local and a number have been with us for many years.
“We are very grateful for their support and want to thank them all for their hard work.
“We look forward to a strong and happy future together.”
“We have had a successful 20 years and we look forward to another 20.”