Booming Langmead Herbs eyes 50% growth

Langmead Herbs is on course to achieve 50% business growth across 2016, the company has announced.

The pioneering UK fresh herbs specialist is charting a dramatic year-on-year increase in revenue, while staff numbers are up 15% after a recruitment campaign to support and sustain this exceptional performance.

Growth has been achieved across retail markets and the food-manufacturing sector. Langmead is a leading producer of outstanding potted, cut and bunched herbs to UK supermarkets and other premium retail channels, as well as cut herbs to processors of meat, fish, poultry and vegetables serving retail and foodservice supply chains for added-value products.

“We are seeing outstanding growth of 50% across 2016 thanks to business development with existing customers and major new business gains. Our strength and stability makes this growth sustainable,” said Chief Executive Ian Summerfield.

Langmead Herbs’ strength comes from our pedigree as a dynamic family business staffed by talented, trusted people with deep expertise across the retail and manufacturing supply chains. Herbs are at the core of the business, from bulk supply to finished, packed produce in a range of formats. Our authority in herb growing and sourcing is second to none, with product and service quality paramount. Customers are at the heart of the business, and we have a relentless approach to improvement and innovation to deliver outstanding value.”

The company is realising the benefits of the £3.75 million invested in 2015 in the UK’s first fully automated glasshouse, walton-12the most advanced living herb facility in the country. The unique automatic potting, sowing and growing system runs 24 hours a day with minimum human input on a 2.7-hectare site in West Sussex, producing year-round large-scale herb farming at a rate of 5 million pots of basil, parsley, mint, thyme and chives a year. The glasshouse also has an innovative biomass-fuelled heating system providing a sustainable, reliable energy source for future requirements. This facility underpins the company’s capacity for sustainable growth ahead, with further expansion planned in 2017.

Every week Langmead also cuts and packages over 400,000 packs, including outdoor-grown mint, dill, coriander and curly and flat-leaf parsley, from its West Sussex and Suffolk farms. The herbs are picked to order under a flexible system that caters to customers’ needs, whether that means harvesting 100kg or three tonnes a day with product quality paramount. The mint crop, for example, is handpicked by a trained harvest team, carefully cutting the herbs with scissors so as not to bruise the leaves. Cutting basil is also a manual task that requires extraordinary precision and the gentlest touch.

Recruitment has seen staff numbers rise 15% across 2016, with more underway to prime Langmead Herbs for future development and enhance its already impressive skill base. Headcount is up from 53 to 60 with recruitment in particular in business development, operations, and engineering and agronomy. The company has also introduced industry-leading training programmes for all staff from line operators to senior executives in LEAN manufacturing and operational effectiveness as well as other life-skills training, such as foreign language and leadership skills.

Looking forward to 2017, Langmead Herbs has earmarked further investment in the areas of operational effectiveness, further developing field crop and protected growing capabilities and staff training and skills.