A Sense of Community - the 70's
Our business was founded in the early 1970’s when it was fair game to refer to the founders as "bean munching tree huggers"! The company was established in a squat in London, buying wholefoods to service the budding health food consumer. Both the founders of the business and its customers were concerned about poor quality, highly processed foods, the use of additives and preservatives, the indiscriminate use of pesticides and artificial fertiliser in crop production, and the increasing use of "health food supplements".
The company bought whole grains, dried fruit, nuts, pulses, herbs and spices from all over the world to service a small but growing industry of health food shops and manufacturers. Community buyers started to travel abroad - going to Turkey, India, China and many other markets to meet producer groups and processors. We talked to farmers and to those involved to get a real handle on how the food started its journey to the UK.
Establishing direct links with farmers, packers and brokers helped build trust and understanding, and the result of these efforts was an improvement in quality and a slow change in methods of food production with some suppliers. The company’s reputation grew as Community buyers reached the places that others could not!
A Sense of Community - the 80's
Community, by this time had moved to larger premises in London and the company started to stretch its wings. The business was benefiting from improvements in relationships with its suppliers. Community started working more closely with certain suppliers who were willing to change working practices that improved the quality of its food and the conditions in which it was grown and prepared.
A Sense of Community - today
Today, Community is a professional, knowledgeable and respected operation, still servicing its traditional customer base, the independent Health Food Trade. Our market has also greatly expanded, and our business now also supplies ingredients for manufacturing as well as the retail grocery trade.
Community moved to its present location near Brent Cross and continues its work promoting the availability of quality, natural foods. While slightly incongruous for a company with organic roots to operate in such a location - not a field or sheep to be seen - it just goes to show that even in such a place it is possible to make a difference.
We now occupy a site of 4,500 sqm with additional off site storage of 9,000 sq.m. We store the majority of our bulk product in chilled warehousing - a legacy of the early days of dealing in organic fruit and nuts to maintain quality.
In September 2006, Milk Marque, the successor company to the Milk Marketing Board of England and Wales purchased the entire share capital of Community Foods (Holdings) Ltd and the business passed to shareholder hands of over 12,000 British Farmers.
From humble origins selling "alternative foods" out of a small shop, Community Foods employs over 80 people to support its various operations. Our growth has been achieved through determination not to accept the status quo, an enterprising spirit, a desire to make better, more wholesome foods available, hard work, big business fulfilment and small business flexibility. Community Foods has retained a prominent position in its specialist food and beverage sector and has a reputation for quality, value for money and reliability. Many of the team from the mid 70's are still with us.