Expanding Cornish company helps to reduce 'food miles'
expanding Cornish business is helping to reduce 'food
miles' while at the same time increasing its annual
turnover to £1 million and doubling the size of its
premises, with help from Business Link Devon and Cornwall.
Plough to Plate, originally based in 2,000 sq ft of rented
units at Doublebois, near Liskeard, sources and supplies quality
Cornish food and drink to Cornish food outlets.
"Now operating from its own new 4,000 sq ft unit
at Pensilva, the business is both a commercial and environmental
success," said Alex Nicholas, personal business
adviser with Business Link Devon and Cornwall which has supported
the company since it started. "It provides a one-stop
delivery shop for local fresh quality produce by collecting
from local artisan producers and delivering a multitude of
products locally in one drop," he explained. "The
alternative would mean each producer making a journey to each
customer which would result in many more CO2 emissions."
Building on its environmental aims, the company is also poised
to offer remote home working to staff and to promote the use
of car-sharing. Now in its fourth year, Plough to Plate lists
1,500 Cornish food and drink product lines from 100 local
producers and has a base of 675 regular customers ranging
from restaurants and pubs to corner shops.
Set up in 2003 with assistance from Business Link 's
Cornwall Food and Drink Programme, Objective One and Cornwall
Taste of the West, the business, which has six vans and ten
employees, is currently in talks with national potential clients
including a major cash and carry firm and a heritage organisation.
Founder directors Nigel and Sherry Boocock had food retailing
experience and knew exactly the difficulties faced by both
ends of the food supply chain. "Plough to Plate
fills the gap between the two," said Sherry.
"As a small specialist food producer it is not always
easy to build up markets and new business while, for owners
of eating and retail establishments, accessing Cornish food
and drink from individual businesses can be a logistical nightmare.
We provided a badly needed wholesaling and distribution service
at a time when the interest in selling, eating and sourcing
local foods was starting to take off.
"One major new initiative has been the cutting
and labelling of whole cheeses ready for resale. This has
given some of our smaller customers, for example post offices,
an opportunity to sell more Cornish produce to which they
otherwise would not have had access."
The company benefited from Business Link support for strategic
workshops, communications and branding, business systems and
processes, and a new website which will be launched shortly.
"The support really helped and the mentoring from
Alex Nicholas is invaluable," said Sherry. "We
see him every couple of months and he has assisted us to become
a better business by sitting down with us and analysing what
has been done, and how, and the way to move forward including
changing roles in the company. With Business Link's
help we have evolved from our early beginnings into the proper
business that we are now, although there is still a long way
Winner of a silver award in the Cornwall Business Awards
2006 and a finalist in the Devon and Cornwall Business Awards
2006, the company recently expanded its phone lines from two
to six, improved its IT and introduced new racking and systems.
Looking to the future, Plough to Plate is planning to trial
its business model in another county to prove that it can
be successfully applied in other areas.
For further information contact Adam McPherson of the Marketing
PR company on 01566 771861 or email email@example.com.
The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the
Isles of Scilly has invested in Business Link Devon and Cornwall
through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and
the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).
Business Link provides a free information and enquiry service
via an information gateway on the web www.bldc.co.uk
and via the telephone on 0845 600 9966 to all businesses and
those considering starting a business. Additionally it provides
impartial business advice and support through a network of
partner organisations, which it co-ordinates, and a register
of independent business practitioners. Business Link for Devon
and Cornwall delivers the national Business Link service to
the region under contract from the South West RDA.
Business Link has received Objective One investment (European
Regional Development Fund and EAGGF) to help companies improve
performance and grow.
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439