Plant-based food disposables manufacturer Vegware has reported a 68 per cent increase in export sales in the year to January 2020, with a 43 per cent increase in international growth in the same year.

The Edinburgh-based SME experienced increased demand for compostable packaging products in the UK and particularly in Europe. 

CEO and Vegware founder Joe Frankel commented: “Growing 43 per cent in a year is a fantastic result. It validates our mission, and reflects the global appetite for high quality foodservice packaging which drives a sustainability agenda as well as ensuring hygiene.  

“We are now selling in over 70 countries and are Scotland’s top exporter in the Sunday Times International Track 200. We are in the process of expanding the footprint of our Dutch warehouse to support rapid sales growth expected as the EU bans unsustainable plastics from 2021. 

“We measure our impact in other ways too: trade composting collections for Vegware now cover 71% of the UK’s urban population, serving 54 of the UK’s largest cities. We are also working with composters in Ireland, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia, the US and many markets where biowaste is seen as a key part of the circular economy. 

“As for many businesses, the past six months have been a stress-test for Vegware with workplace catering, universities and global hospitality closed in the face of widespread lock-downs.  

“As we have grown through the years, we have continually reinvested in production efficiency, capacity and systems. This ensured that we had the resilience to continue to support our clients through the shocks of the Covid pandemic. 

“Covid has caused significant disruption though has also brought a renewed focus on the hygiene guaranteed by single-use products. This combined with an appetite for sustainable solutions has allowed us to win new business, support new sectors and give us a robust view on our future outlook. 

“2020 has required rapid adaptation to new ways of working and market realities. An exceptional team plus our strong relationships with our suppliers, clients, investors and wider stakeholders meant that this was possible, and we have come through with a stronger and more efficient enterprise than ever before.  

“The Covid-related lock-downs had major impacts on revenue through late spring and early summer, such that for the first year since 2006 we don’t expect to increase year on year revenue. However we have rebuilt since summer, are now trading above the same periods last year and see continued growth as we plan 2021.  

“We are grateful to our clients with whom we have had to work very closely, our suppliers who have been called upon to flex in regard to raw material and to our bank, Santander, for their support through a challenging period.”