A Southport food company has expanded one of its warehouses following a £3.5m loan from Lloyds Bank.
Nationwide Produce is a family-owned fresh produce company that was originally established almost 50 years ago as Bernard O’Malley & Sons.
It works across the entire supply chain, growing, grading, packing, trading, importing, and exporting fresh produce, including vegetables and fruits from around the world.
The firm’s rapidly-expanding customer base and general market need for reliable suppliers, meant it had to expand its warehouse in Evesham by 75%, and introduce greener measures.
Lloyds’ £3.5m support was used to increase warehouse space from 32,000 sq ft to 56,000 sq ft, which led to an increase in pallet capacity from 900 to 2,100, allowing more stock to be stored.
To support its green ambitions, the firm also used the funding to build five temperature-controlled chambers which offer an 84% reduction in global warming potential, meaning they can achieve the same cooling effect as previous chambers while emitting less greenhouse gases.
Solar panels were also installed at the warehouse, growing its total renewable electricity offering by almost two thirds and bringing capacity up to 500kW across the company’s facilities.
Overall, the new space has given Nationwide Produce the ability to hold more stock and increase buying power, meaning it can fulfil customer orders more efficiently, negotiate better deals with suppliers and improve its level of service.
Now, the business is planning to expand its product range to include frozen foods, as well as investing in new packing machinery to enhance its offerings and further increase its appeal to its customers.
Group managing director, Tim O’Malley, said: “As a global importer, and UK and EU exporter, we are seeing a rise in demand for fresh produce from customers across all sectors of the market. Last year, our turnover was above pre-pandemic levels at £143m and we’re already set to see a record-breaking turnover of £185m this year as we meet demand for increased volume.”
He added: “The new warehouse space will be vital in helping maximise this opportunity for growth by helping us work more efficiently, improve and expand our product line, and ultimately, provide our customers with an even better service.
“We’re also committed to driving decarbonisation within the company and are proud to say 100% of the power needed to run our UK depots and offices is being produced from renewable energy sources, including our recently installed solar panels.”
The firm supports charities and has diverted surplus food to its partner, FareShare. Over the course of its three-year partnership, the company has donated more than 500,000 meals to 3,825 charities across the UK, a total of 217 tonnes of surplus food.
John Csizmadia, relationship director at Lloyds Bank, said: “Nationwide Produce is a fantastic example of a business that puts innovation and its customers at the heart of everything is does. The new warehouse space will help the company to meet increased demand, while also expanding its offering and improving it sustainability efforts.”