BRITAIN’S diners are getting the taste for fish processed by Havelok of Grimsby.
Havelok, a division of Iceland Seafood International, says its sales are growing 50 per cent-year-on-year and the firm, employing 70, is constantly recruiting.
The company, formed in January 2013, has reported that in its second full-year of trading, sales doubled to £7.7million. Already, sales for 2015 are running more than 50 per cent up on 2014, with more than 20 new customers acquired through the year.
However, the division has yet to report profit, though losses are declining.
In 2013, Havelok lost £783,647, largely down to the one-off costs of starting it up, a year which saw it rapidly gain 66 new customers. The following year, the loss dropped to £361,000.
Managing director Danny Burton says Havelok was set up as a specialist supplier to the food service sector in the UK, meaning its products are eaten outside the home, such as at pubs, restaurants and schools.
“Dining out is in growth in the UK and we felt that with our extensive experience and understanding of the sector we were ideally placed to share in that growth,” he said.
“We knew that the sector was looking for top quality fish and seafood and also for fresh ideas to liven up menus and we are very proud of our success in this area.
“To this end, we have developed a range of unique products that have been warmly received by our customer base and provide opportunities in other business,” he said.
He won’t specify what the products are for fear of alerting rivals, but the Havelok website talks of skinless and boneless battered fish; breaded fish; frozen cod, haddock and plaice; specialities such as goujons and platters, fish portions, burgers and bites; plus main course specialities including dusted haddock fillets, dusted cod fillets, traditional fish combo and salmon fillets.
The products are sourced globally from places including Iceland, Norway and China and are then frozen within a few hours to maintain highest quality. The fish is single frozen rather than double frozen for this.
Havelok’s management team have been in fish and food service for more than 20 years.
Danny is known as a “driving force” of the Grimsby fishing industry, having being in it for decades. He was previously the managing director and one of the owners of Five Star Fish, which operates just metres away from Havelok’s premises on the Great Grimsby Business Park.
“We are able to report that the business is moving forward strongly with sales up 50 per cent year-on-year. This level of sales means that our workforce has now grown to 70,” he said.
“Every months we are creating some new jobs. We are confident there will be continued job creation. Our team are vital to our progress and we are delighted with the quality and service of our offer which is one of the key reasons for customers moving their business to us,” he said.
Danny says the team on the factory floor are also skilled and have also been in the industry a long time.
Experience coupled with innovation in new products is credited with the success Havelok reports.
“We are continuing to invest in the business and this year we have installed filleting equipment and increased nitrogen freezing to give us a point of difference over our competitors who rely on third parties for their supply,” he said.
Together, this innovation and uniqueness “will drive continued growth in 2015 and the coming years,” Danny concluded.