Essential's history can be traced back to the year of 1971.
Harvest, a wholefood co-operative located in Bath, consisted of 17-20 members and operated a cash and carry and a small number of delivery runs each day. Harvest had retail customers and sold pre packs; small bags of commodities and ingredients such as rice, seeds, nuts, dried fruit and herbs.
Shortly after, Nova arrived. Situated on St Thomas Street in Bristol, Nova specialised in organic and bulk commodities and had a customer base including wholesalers and buying groups. Nova’s focus was good, unprocessed, additive free, organic and vegetarian food.
In 1991 these two co-operatives merged and became Essential Trading Co-operative Ltd. Harvest moved into the new Nova warehouse in Fishponds, Bristol. The members from each co-op and the product portfolios were retained. Essential still has the combined customer base of wholesale, retail and buying groups today.