Updated: Oct 12
It’s hard to know where to begin when a significant milestone such as this comes around.
Our founder, Rati, started off selling potatoes and onions in the 1960s before embarking on a journey that mobilised tens of thousands of rural farmers to grow enough for Kenya to first feed itself, and then export regionally. Having pioneered the horticultural export industry in Kenya back then, he moved to the UK to set up Wealmoor as a marketing arm for the Kenyan business in 1973. Fast forward 50 years, and we find ourselves growing, packing, and supplying brilliant, exciting ranges of speciality fruits and vegetables from all over the world to so many different customers.
Whilst we grow a lot of our products ourselves, we would not have achieved this without our grower partners, many of whom have been with the business for decades and sent messages of support in celebration of our anniversary. How fortunate we are to have such a rich heritage, unparalleled global connectivity, and sterling relationships.
It is not surprising, therefore, that the Wealmoor staff at our UK sites came together on this occasion, as we so often do in special times, and celebrated this momentous achievement across our three sites. Employees from all corners of the business gathered to celebrate a milestone that speaks of dedication, growth, a shared commitment to quality, and investment in communities both here in the UK and all over the world. It began at Greenford where the festivities were nothing short of spectacular.
The celebrations continued at Hayes two days later. Music filled the air, tantalising food delighted taste buds, and joyful dancing ensued. Everyone wore their new anniversary t-shirts with pride: a symbol of their collective achievement and the vibrant spirit of the event.
However, the true highlight of the celebration was the speech delivered by the CEO – a speech that encapsulated the essence of Wealmoor's journey from its humble beginnings to becoming a global leader in the fresh produce industry (we’ve included a potted history at the end of this article). It received rapturous applause at all sites, especially at the final event in Atherstone.
Wealmoor remains a family business at heart, where strong relationships with growers are cherished, and a focus on community and quality endures. As we stand at the dawn of a new decade, Wealmoor is poised for continued growth and innovation, carrying the spirit of the family's vision into the future. As we celebrate 50 years of Wealmoor, we honour the founders, Rati and Vilas, and their enduring legacy. Wealmoor's journey from a small grocery store to a global fresh produce leader is a testament to vision, dedication, and a commitment to quality.
Here's to another 50 years of freshness, excellence, and a global community that makes Wealmoor the success story it is today.
Wealmoor: A Short History
The company's remarkable journey dates back to 1973 when Rati and Vilas founded Wealmoor as a marketing arm for the Kenyan business, KHE. Trailblazers, Rati and Vilas travelled prodigiously in the quest to introduce better and wider perspectives to their lives and to source new products which could be introduced to British buyers and the public.
Growth continued into the 1980s, a decade marked by innovation and bold investments, and the company expanded its reach, venturing into partnerships with major supermarkets and employing the next generation. It was a period of transformation, driven by an unwavering commitment to excellence.
The 1990s brought Wealmoor closer to consumers, with Sainsbury's and Waitrose becoming the first retail customers. The company introduced new products into supermarkets, including okra, papayas, better mangoes, baby corn, and a range of chilies. Wealmoor became a pioneer in product development, including the introduction of golden papayas from Brazil, ginger from Thailand and a range of different exotic fruits and vegetables all over the world.
During this time, Wealmoor's founders remained committed to the communities they worked with, emphasizing the importance of long-lasting relationships with growers worldwide. In the 2000s, Wealmoor continued to expand its reach and investments, establishing a strong presence in India, and further enhancing its relationships with UK growers. Developing crops such as TSB, Fine Beans, Sugar Snaps, and a range of Baby Vegetables in the UK was transformative for the horticulture industry locally. This was a period of tremendous growth, with an increased focus on developing UK capacity.
2010 saw the sad passing of our founder Rati. Under the leadership of Leena and Avnish, the decade was marked with a focus on strategically increasing vertical integration and ownership of sources and supply chains. This has enabled the business to create increased supply chain resilience and further build on its market leading supply base. 2017 also saw Vilas being honoured by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with an MBE for her lifelong services to community.
Entering the 2020s, Wealmoor faced unprecedented challenges, including the impact of COVID-19 and global conflicts. Despite these obstacles, the company continued to look forward. The decade brought about significant developments, including the rebuild and expansion of the Hayes site and further growth in the global market.