Growing and production take place on the 111-year-old family firm’s rich arable land in Spalding, Lincolnshire, an operation now turning over £26 million and employing up to 200 people, depending on the season. White, green, red and Savoy varieties, plus a new chefs’ pleaser, a pink cabbage that Naylor’s has co-developed, mature naturally, providing maximum taste for the raw ingredients that make up Naylor’s coleslaw and potato salads. With an expanding range for customers in food service and retail in Europe, the US, the Middle East and south east Asia, the core product includes cheese-flavoured, vegan and low fat options.
The cabbages’ texture and the coleslaw’s long, shelf life make them ideal for export and fundamental to Naylor’s sealing a three-year deal with QSR Brands, the operator for hundreds of Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut restaurants in Malaysia and Singapore.
Managing director Simon Naylor, who owns the business with his father Brian explains: “The crunch and taste of British cabbages cannot be replicated elsewhere.
“We are one of Europe’s biggest growers, our provenance is there for all to see. We have invested heavily in developing longer shelf lives so customers can enjoy the benefits of reduced waste and inventory costs and be protected against fluctuating prices.
“Because we provide our own raw ingredients and are accountable for every step of the process, we can guarantee supply.
“Our range has 120 days-plus chilled shelf life with no preservatives. Longer shelf life products are going to be more in demand too now as we face life- changing times because of coronavirus.”
Close co-operation between the Department for International Trade (DIT) and Naylor’s helped it overcome an early hitch in the QSR contract, which involves the export of 10,800 kilos of round cabbages, when queries over the size of packaging held up four shipments at the Malaysian border.
The DIT, very focussed on lowering barriers to trade “got us temporary approval with a view to achieving a more permanent change”, says Naylor.
“That has been a massive help and means a big step forward for us and other British exporters.”
Growing demand and always with an eye on productivity, Naylor’s introduced the Schur Star packing machine last year which speeds up filling and avoids package sealing issues.
It has also added a linear weigher so when special product requirements occur “it’s easier to switch system to semi-automatic or manual”, says Naylor.
“Everything has its challenges, but we take innovation from in-house and partners to build best practice that is the envy of the world.
“We began as a single, family run farm and now work with some of the biggest brands on the planet.”
Businesses looking for international opportunities should visit the Department of International Trade’s site, www.great.gov.uk