VEGWARE HAS been named Scotland’s 3rd fastest-growing company in the Deloitte Fast 50 Awards, achieving 901% turnover growth in five years, and coming 29th in the UK-wide tech-sector ranking. Vegware’s UK team has expanded from 2 in 2009 to the current 34, with sales on target for another 60% growth this year. The Edinburgh SME is now the only completely compostable packaging firm operating globally, manufacturing and distributing eco catering disposables which can be recycled with food waste. Operations now span five continents.
Vegware’s business success story is illustrated in a short film made as UK National Champion in the European Business Awards, where the firm is currently seeking votes to represent the UK as Europe’s National Public Champion.
It all started with a spoon. Working in California in 2005, founder Joe Frankel admired a bioplastic spoon his wife had been given at the farmers’ market. “She told me it was made of corn and potato starch. I thought that was the most wonderful thing I had ever heard. It sparked a whole train of ideas within me, and the Vegware concept was born.” Back in Edinburgh, he set up Vegware in 2006, then with business partner Dominic Marjoram.
Run from its Edinburgh HQ, Vegware is now a global brand with operations in the UK, US, South Africa, Australasia and now UAE, with a Europe-wide network of distribution partners from Iceland to Portugal. UK clients range from the biggest contract caterers and food distributors through to government offices, NHS units and independent artisan cafes and delis.
From the three cutlery items offered five years ago, Vegware’s range has grown to over 200 completely compostable products, including many award-winning packaging innovations resulting from the firm’s active R&D programme. All Vegware’s catering disposables are made from recycled and sustainably sourced eco materials and are completely compostable – so unlike most foodservice packaging, Vegware can be simply recycled after use. Vegware’s non-profit initiative The Food Waste Network is a free service matchmaking any UK business with local food waste collections and promoting zero waste.
These latest achievements add to a fantastic year for Vegware, who have won over a dozen awards so far in 2013. Highlights include the top prize in the Scottish Green Awards and the FSB UK Streamline Awards, and the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development.