Vegware reports 43 per cent growth in total sales

Compostable packaging manufacturer Vegware has reported a 43 per cent growth in sales to £45.9 million last year.

In the latest accounts for the 12 months to the end of January 2020, Vegware’s UK sales increased by 28 per cent to £26.7 million, with international sales rising by 68 per cent to £19.2 million.

The Edinburgh-based SME saw particularly strong growth in Europe, with American business more than doubling alongside it.Vegware cold drink cup

Vegware sustained major impacts on revenue throughout national Covid-19 lockdowns earlier this year, and in the months following. The company has since rebuilt, and is now ‘trading above the same periods last year’, with predictions of continuous growth.

However, according to founder and CEO, Joe Frankel, the global pandemic presented opportunities as well as challenges: “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. 

“Though Covid has caused significant disruption, it 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. 

He added: “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.”

Founded in 2006, the manufacturer provides its plant-based packaging products to customers ranging from independent cafés and universities to international food service operators, and now sells in over 70 countries.

In the next five years, the wider biodegradable packaging sector is set to see significant growth. According to market research firm Mordor Intelligence, the industry was valued at $89.57 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach a value of $121.38 billion 2025.

Commenting on the company’s growth, Frankel said: “Growing 43 per cent in a year is a fantastic result. 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 per cent 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”.