Curating culinary delights from pastries to plant-based pastrami, The Compleat Food Group is sustainably satisfying the cravings of consumers across the UK  

With a purpose of making food to feel good, The Compleat Food Group is one of the UK’s foremost manufacturers of pastries, antipasti, plant-based alternatives, and more. As Chief Executive Officer, Nick Field, enthuses: “We’re on a mission to create great quality, tasty and affordable food that people will love to eat — we call it ‘Food to Feel Good’. This ethos runs throughout our entire business and is the driving force for our people and culture. It also means the starting point for everything we do is the consumer, in tandem with category expertise and outstanding production capabilities. 

“Using an efficient and flexible model, we’re able to deliver high quality products across our range of brands and retailer brand partnerships. Our aim is to excite and delight consumers whilst driving growth in all the categories in which we operate.” 

Nick Field
CEO Nick Field

 Innovation is embedded into The Compleat Food Group’s company ethos. “Thanks to our award-winning innovation and insight teams, we’re quick to deliver the freshest new ideas. Insight is at the forefront of any new product development, and our talented in-house team are constantly researching consumer and category data to see where we can introduce market-firsts. Our work is all about understanding what new flavors and formats consumers are looking for.  

“Working alongside our product development team is a group of talented culinary experts. These are development chefs with many years of experience, and they are able to combine their knowledge and flair with the latest information from our insight team to develop our award-winning dishes. You’ll often find members from both teams traveling together across the UK and Europe on food safaris, searching for new ideas and inspiration.      

 “We’re proud of our long-standing partnerships across the trade, and we love to nurture and develop their brands alongside our own. We also seek out innovative, challenger brands with unique products and move quickly to make them part of our brand family, as we did with Vadasz and Palace Culture. When we do this it’s important that we continue working with the brand founders to ensure the authenticity of the product remains and that the spirit of innovation stays in the business,” Nick affirms.  

Building brands 

A variety of well-loved food brands sit under The Compleat Food Group umbrella, as Nick discusses: “Our leading and distinctive brands have been achieving high, double-digit growth for several years and are a key focus for our growth plans in 2024. We believe sustainable category growth comes from brand and retailer brand development, and we direct our investment accordingly.   

 “Across our heritage brands, Wall’s Pastry and Pork Farms, which are both outperforming the chilled savory pastry category in value and volume, we’ve continued to invest in reinforcing both brands’ reputations for high quality, great tasting products, whilst looking at how we can expand into new categories, occasions, and formats.   

 “Alongside these traditional brands, we have a history of launching new brands and acquiring exciting start-ups, offering unique products with exceptional taste and flavor. This includes Vadasz, which we’ve grown to become the UK’s leading chilled pickles and ferments brand. It is regularly innovating with new flavor combinations and looking to expand into new formats.   

 “In 2023, we acquired the award-winning plant-based cheese brand Palace Culture, and we’re now investing to support them to become a category leader. Finally, we will be continuing to work on both Squeaky Bean and Unearthed. The Compleat Food Group developed both of these brands in the last decade, and with them we are continuing to delight consumers by expanding our range into new categories.” 

Ambitious growth plans

With its finger on the pulse of today’s consumer market, The Compleat Food Group prepares for major growth in the coming years. As Nick concludes: “Our ambition is to become the UK’s number one chilled prepared food company, measured by ESG, culture and performance. We’ll do this through our commitment to be truly category led and capability driven. This means we will leverage our scale, our complementary brand and retailer brand portfolio, and our extensive product capability utilizing our dual supply platform, to continue delivering exciting solutions that drive sustainable growth within each of our key categories. 

“We will support the company’s success by continuing to build leading strategic partnerships with our customers, furthering our commitment to organic investment, and nurturing our brands alongside those of our retailers to deliver inspiring food solutions for our consumers. 

“Acquisitions will also play a key role in helping us achieve our ambition, as part of our continued strategic commitment to broaden our capability and partnership with the trade, as well as grow our category leadership position. We recently acquired SK Foods and Zorba Foods, both category leaders in private label chilled party foods and dips and deli fillings, which is one example of this. We’re incredibly excited about these two significant additions and what they bring to the group, and plan to continue investment in both companies to extend their respective capabilities, allowing us to further innovate and inspire within their categories. 

 “Underpinning our overarching mission, ambition and intent is our commitment to exceptional quality and our ability to innovate and excite through our food, supported by our private equity ownership, which creates a decisive, fast-paced and performance focused environment for the business. Additionally, the leadership team helps to support the rapid development of capital projects, M&A, and business investment. The combined effort of everyone within The Compleat Food Group continues to support the delivery of our ambitious growth plans.”