Did you grow cress on cotton wool on your window ledge when you were at school? That is exactly the principle that Simon Macaulay followed when he first talked to Chris Moncrieff of Van Heineken Brothers (VHB) in Angmering, (now a housing development) Sussex in the late 1990s. Chris and Peter Walls, who ran the herbs business at VHB, were innovators. Simon takes up the story:
“I had recently taken over from my dad at Anglo and an old contact at M&S had told me that VHB used felt to grow cress. I took the 6 hour drive down to VHB and the lady I was due to see had forgotten I was coming. Luckily Chris is a very kind man and he took pity on me and had a chat. He was indeed growing cress on a felt but it was made from virgin materials and he liked the idea of maybe using a blend of virgin fibre offcuts - using cotton/wool and polypropylene. Growfelt was born.”
“For the first 6 years we supplied exclusively to VHB. In return they helped us to bring our factory up to food grade standard and to set in place a testing regime for Salmonella E-Coli and Listeria.”
"However in recent years we have broadened out our customer base and now offer a core of three products to meet the different needs of customers across Europe, the Middle East and the Far East for Growfelt, be it for retail presentation and appearance or water holding. We can offer rolls cut to your bench width or small pads to fit your punnet requirement."
"We are the largest manufacturer of mats for microgreens in Europe and we are never standing still."
Over to Managing Director Andy Hall: “As we expand our customer base we are constantly getting sent new challenges. A customer in the Philippines wanted a mat 10mm thick as the ambient temperature demands increased water availability for the herbs. I am regularly talking to my customer in the Middle East as he is expanding rapidly as the demand for fresh salads grown in the area. Also we are undertaking trials to find a fully biodegradable product that meets micro and growth challenges but allows my customers to reduce their landfill costs. Not an easy one to solve but we are confident we will. We stay close to our customers, developing variants for their bespoke requirements. They are mainly small businesses like us and we try and help each other.”
For more information:
Anglo Recycling Technology
Lancashire OL12 8BG