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50 Years in the Making

Date Published: 01-09-2021

2021 marks the 50th year of when Essential’s first Harvest store opened in Bath and we have been servicing wholesale communities and supporting the local economy ever since.  Following a 1991 merger of two worker co-ops, Bristol-based Nova Wholefoods Co-operative Limited and Bath Wholefood Co-operative Limited, Essential have become a true pioneer in the manufacturing and distribution of vegetarian, vegan, organic, sustainable and free-from produce, sourced from around the world. 

The late 1970s and early 1980s saw a dramatic rise in popularity of both businesses.   Wholefoods distributors and manufacturers were few and far between and the recognised worker co-operatives quickly gained popularity. 

The 50th anniversary this summer is one to be celebrated, particularly as in 1971, such foods were somewhat disregarded and the movement described as a fad.  Since then, Essential has grown into one of the biggest co-operative structures in the UK, importing and exporting produce throughout the UK and on the continent and we’re very proud of the pioneering stance that the business has stuck to.

Do you want to know how Essential Trading launched many moons ago?  Click here to read about the trials and tribulations of our founding members in those challenging early days.