Operating out of Criccieth in North Wales, Harlech Food Service has built up an outstanding reputation since its inception back in 1972. Colin Foskett and his wife Gill started the company after they left the family ice cream business in Shropshire and took over an ailing frozen food firm in Harlech.


The business, known as Harlech Frozen Food, continued to expand, adding additional cold storage and further space to cope with the growth of the grocery and chilled food business. In 2005, the company changed its name to Harlech Food Service to reflect the changing nature of the business.

In order to cope with the continuing demand for their service, Colin became Chairman and appointed his sons Andrew and Jonathan as Joint Managing Directors. They decided, in the depths of the recession to invest in new premises just four miles away in Criccieth. They moved into the new site right in the middle of holding their Annual Trade Show, which Colin said, “made things extremely interesting. We now had a total operating capacity of 40,000ft2 including storage for 1,000 pallets of ambient products, 800 pallets of frozen and 200 pallets of chilled products. The delivery and loading bays are also temperature controlled. All this is on a 5-acre site purchased from the local council and has been designed to be as energy efficient as possible. It was built by a local contractor who not only gave us good value for money but it also meant that we were continuing to support the local economy.”

The company designed the new site to meet its specific needs with a great emphasis on sustainability and energy efficiency. The building is fitted with LED lighting, extra insulation and fan units in the cold store, which is not defrosted on a fixed cycle but on demand. Although the building was expensive, the payback on energy alone makes it all worthwhile, with all of the departments – ambient, chilled and frozen – in specially designed areas under one roof with the ability to expand on another acre of land that the company owns.

North Wales is a very busy tourist area and it is noticeable that visitors like to eat as much local food as possible. Therefore, Harlech endeavour to buy as much Welsh food as possible, for example South Caernarvon Creamery supplies all of their cheese, milk and butter, together with other cheese from several other Welsh cheese makers. Frozen and chilled dairy products, ready-made meals, pies etc also come from Welsh manufacturers.

Andrew says, “We offer a full food service range, including soft drinks, groceries, chilled and frozen goods. We have a fleet of about 20 vehicles – heavy goods and vans, including multi-temperature trailers and vehicles. We currently service an area across North Wales, down to Aberystwyth and across to Chester and Wrexham. For us, service is the key factor and even though many customers always want everything yesterday, we do try to meet their demands, wherever possible. Locally we deliver 6-days a week but for more distant deliveries we operate on a three-times a week basis.”

Andrew concludes, “We employ all local people, the majority of whom are bilingual as we are in a Welsh-speaking area. Our projected turnover for 2011 is around £13 million and we are about 12% up over the first 6 months and we are hoping to push this to around £20 million over the next five years. With the overall business economy fairly flat at the moment, this means that we are looking at expanding our range of goods, for example, fresh meat, packaging, cleaning materials. We are also looking to expand our geographical area slightly. Eight years ago, we became members of the Today Group and now have around 2,500 customers across a wide range of sectors, including hotels, restaurants, pubs, nursing homes, leisure sites and cafes together with public sector clients including schools.”

For further information please telephone 01766 812817 or visit www.harlech.co.uk