by Nationwide News | Jul 21, 2022
Vitaal Europe is launched
In 2004 we set out on a strategy to develop a European fresh produce trading network. And the best place to start with that is the hub of the fresh produce industry for the whole of Europe – Rotterdam. We opened up our own procurement, storage and trans-shipping operation called Vitaal Europe. This is now one of the largest parts of our business operating from our own depot in Poeldijk which is one of the biggest produce trading estates in Europe just between Rotterdam and The Hague.
New Spalding Office
Due to expansion in early 2017, we purchased two offices in Spalding then joined them together to form a 400 sq mtr state-of-the-art trading facility. The office is based on the Pinchbeck Industrial Estate in Spalding which is home to a plethora of fresh produce and food manufacturing companies and one of the main hubs of the produce industry in the UK.
Richmond Farms established
Richmond Farms started life in 1991 as a separate division of Nationwide set up to focus on the brand-marketing of veg to the non-retail sector through its own trading teams in Lincs and Lancs. The Richmond Farms brand is now well established as one of the best-known and respected brands in Europe for UK vegetables.
New Office and Cold-Storage Facilities in Almeria
The major event of 2021 was opening our own depot in Almeria for Nationwide Espana. It’s a 44,000 sq foot depot in El Ejido, Almeria. To give you an idea of how important Almeria is as an export source for UK – Spain is the biggest European producer and exporter of fruit & veg. Almeria province alone, which represents just 1.8% of Spain’s landmass, supplies an incredible 51% of the country’s total fruit & veg exports. Almeria punches well above its weight. During peak season, Nationwide Espana exports around 50 to 70 truck loads of produce around Europe every week.
New depot and office in Evesham
We started business in Evesham back in 2007 with one guy in a small office selling just a few lines of imported exotic veg. We’ve grown the business considerably over the years and indeed out-grown our service-providers so we invested £2m in 2018 in our own depot on the Vale Park estate to become our central cold-storage, pallet collation and distribution hub for the UK. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on which way you look at it, we outgrew this depot within 18 months so invested £3m in a bigger depot literally just down the road. We are currently building a major extension on this depot, for a further investment of £3.5m, to extend total storage capacity for Evesham from 900 to around 2100 pallets.
Vitaal Europe Emmen Office opens
In 2009 we extended our presence in the Netherlands with a new office in Emmen near the German border to specifically concentrate on exports into Europe, Scandinavia and the Baltic states.
New Business and Office in Dublin
In 2021 we opened a new business and office in Dublin in preparation for Brexit. Ireland is a major export market for us and the only one we serve week-in, week-out from UK. Having our own business over there helps to reduce the time and cost of export documentation.
Vitaal Fruit is launched
With careful planning we achieved a long-term goal of creating a fruit division, based in Kent, from a team of four ex-Capespan traders with over 80 years’ experience in the fruit trade. The office is perfectly located in Maidstone, near our storage & distribution partners in Paddock Wood. It is also close to the main port of entry for our containers of fruit – London Gateway.
Depots in key European hubs
The future! To have depots in the key European hubs of Rotterdam, Evesham, Almeria and Belfast alongside trading offices in Spalding, Lancashire, Kent and Emmen in the north of Holland is the realisation of a dream to build a European fresh produce trading network… but it’s not the end of the dream… watch this space!
Solvit Handling division launched
Historically we had always outsourced our storage, pre-packing and order-picking activities in the Netherlands. In line with our continued expansion and to facilitate greater quality control over both products and services, in 2012 we brought these operations in-house with the formation of a new division – Solvit Handling. So, in addition to carrying out handling and storage for our own operation in NL, we are also providing these services extensively to third parties.
Long Sutton opens. Anglia Growing Partnership launched
In 2013 we made a £3m investment in a 40,000 sq ft packhouse on an 8-acre site in Long Sutton, Lincs to grade and pack onions. The following year we transferred this facility into Anglian Growing Partnership – a joint-venture between Nationwide and AH Worth. AGP now grades on average just over 1,000 tonnes of onions and produces around half a million pack of onions per week.
Belfast Depot and Office opens
In 2009 we opened a new depot and trading office in Belfast initially to specialise in the importation of potatoes for sale around Northern Ireland and the Republic. We’ve now increased the offer to a broad range of products.
Nationwide Espana is launched
The Group’s reach was extended to Southern Europe when Nationwide Espana was established in the fertile growing province of Almeria, Spain. Like Evesham, we started with one guy in a small office. We now have a team of 13 Commercial, Technical and Logistics staff operating from our own 4,000 sq mtr depot in El Ejido. We export around 50 to 70 loads of produce from Spain to the UK, Northern Europe and Scandinavia every week throughout the season.
Vitaal Exotics Division launched
In 2007 we established a division in another hub of the produce industry, Evesham, to serve the growing demand for exotic produce to the catering and food-service sector.
Grower Group formed
In 2006 we set up a grower group under the Richmond Farms banner. We also now grow 550 acres of root crops ourselves which has given us the opportunity to talk with the voice of experience when negotiating with our growers.
Spalding Office opens
By the late 80’s the business had grown considerably by daily deliveries of produce on our own lorries to the London and Scottish markets. We needed to bolster our procurement so we set up an office in Spalding, Lincs which is the fresh produce hub of the strongest veg growing region of the UK – East Anglia.
Broadacre Foods sold to Lingarden
In 2000, we sold Broadacre to a large Lincolnshire produce packer with a deal for Nationwide to continue to provide all procurement for the business.
Broadacre Foods established
In 1991 we took our first foray into production with the opening of a factory in Lincs to produce chilled prepared vegetables for the fast-expanding ready-meal sector – we called it Broadacre Foods.
In 1985 we changed the name of the company to Nationwide Produce PLC to reflect our ever-ambitious plans for the future.
Nationwide opens its doors
It all began in 1975 when the company Bernard O’Malley & Co was established by Bernard, a Lancashire farmer, and his wife Joan. A few years later the name changed to Bernard O’Malley & Sons as his 3 sons joined the business. Back then, the business was very localised as most were – buying local Lancashire produce for supply to local markets such as Manchester, Liverpool, Preston etc. The company logo was a big Lancashire red rose with the strap-line “Pride of Lancashire” running underneath it.