A READY meal firm set on ambitious plans for growth has announced plans for a home delivery service and contract to expand its market opportunities.
Worthing firm Love Food hopes a distribution deal, talks with a London firm which supplies high-end pubs chains and an online service will see the company continue to grow rapidly.
Co-director Marc Scrace said: “We want to get to a stage fairly quickly where we are quite a large local employer distributing meals nationally and we are hoping to increase our turnover each year.”
The high-end food firm, which was launched in October, 2012, has secured a deal with Southwick-based Southover Food Company, which will see a selection of meals added to its portfolio.
Mr Scrace said it was a valuable opportunity to get Love Food’s products distributed across a larger area.
He said: “We have had some quite big meetings lately to push our products more out to the south east and Birmingham way, giving us a further scope for growth.
“For us, it gives us a far greater umbrella of opportunity in terms of volume and it will give us opportunities both in the food service and retail industries.
“Southover Foods has got 3,000 customers so will give us opportunity to be exposed to a far greater volume of opportunity like pub chains, restaurants and hotels.”
Marketing and sales manager at Southover, Niall Singers, said the business had previously steered clear of ready meals in its portfolio but Love Food were ‘ahead of the curve’.
He said: “We always have a keen eye out for innovative new suppliers in our area, which means we can maintain our ‘Good local food’ strapline and reduce the miles on our products.
“We didn’t have a ready meal format in our portfolio and had, to be honest, actively avoided it due to the connotations of this kind of product being overly manufactured and unhealthy.
“The market has shifted a lot in recent years with advances in freezing technology eliminating the necessity for preservatives and the push for local and ethical ingredients reshaping product profiles.”
He added: “Love Food is very much ahead of the curve in this market and have produced a range of delicious products that we’re confident will satisfy our very particular customers.”
Talks over a similar deal a London distributor could also see products sold to additional high-end pubs and restaurants.
Closer to home, plans for a new online ordering service will enable residents to get frozen ready meals delivered direct to their doorsteps.
Mr Scrace said the online element of the business would be launched in the next few weeks.
He said: “We will be delivering a range of ready meals and Sussex-sourced products to homes via our website, of which the online sales part will be launched in the next few weeks.
“We advocate a soft sell approach.”