Fullers lands £120m deal with Asda

YORKSHIRE-based Fullers Foods International has become one of the largest family-owned food companies in Britain after securing a £120m deal with Asda.

Frozen food firm Fullers has secured a two-year vegetable contract and a one-year chips contract with Asda, which is expected to provide a boost for Yorkshire farmers.

Jason Fuller, the sales director of Fullers Foods International, said: "This is a huge deal within the food industry, especially considering the current climate.

"Our relationship with Asda is built on trust and loyalty over a 40-year period. Asda and Fullers are two local teams working together, sourcing both local and worldwide products, to ensure we deliver everyday low prices."

The agreement builds on the success of a multi-million pound frozen vegetables contract, which Asda awarded to Fullers in 2005.

"The original Asda contract was valued at 20m,'' said Mr Fuller. "The 2009-2011 contract has now grown to include vegetable and chips over two years with a value of around 120m."

Mr Fuller, who runs the family firm with his brothers Adam and Lee, said that around 57 per cent of the chip side of the contract would use British potatoes.

He added: "This will provide a boost for potato growers, including some in Yorkshire. This deal makes us one of the largest family-owned food companies in Britain."

Fullers employs 40 staff at its Leeds head office, and Mr Fuller predicted the deal could lead to a "few more jobs" being created.

"Our company's turnover is 130m, and has gone up by 20m in the last five years,'' he said.

"It's very hard work to win Asda contracts, you have to hit quality and price. I'm very honoured to be associated with such a huge organisation, and I hope it continues for a long time. That's why I never take a holiday."

Mr Fuller said he hoped his success in securing the contract would encourage more Yorkshire farmers to grow crops.

Rick Banks, frozen chips, potatoes and veg buyer from Leeds-based Asda, said: "We have a long-standing relationship with Fullers which goes back many years.

"So I'm particularly pleased to be able to award them even more of our frozen produce business.

"We value being able to work closely with another major company in the region, and look forward to strengthening that relationship in years to come."

Fullers was founded by Harry Fuller in 1841, who began selling fruit and vegetables on a barrow in Leeds market.

Four generations later, the company is still family-owned. It has grown to become a wholesaler of fresh and frozen food services.

Fullers, which has its head office in Park Square, Leeds, offers a range of services to clients, from storage, distribution and wholesaling to sourcing, product development, design and manufacture.

Fullers can review, source and design the types of food that suit customers' needs.

This can include barbecue ranges for summer, or gourmet delicacies for Christmas.

Fullers also provide clients with own-label food pro- ducts.

Leeds-based Asda, which is part of Wal-Mart, has 356 stores and employs around 160,000 staff.

The 2005 contract between Asda and Fullers resulted in several thousand acres of extra UK vegetables being grown. It included a commitment to supply frozen broccoli, cauliflower and peas.

Under the 2005 agreement, Asda doubled the amount of UK veg it sourced for its frozen products.

Keeping it in the family

Four generations of the Fuller family have been serving the food industry since Harry Fuller began selling fruit and vegetables from a barrow in Leeds Market in 1841.

The Leeds-based company has grown to become a leading supplier of products and services to the UK frozen food industry.

Client services include manufacturing, worldwide product sourcing, product development, frozen storage, distribution and wholesaling.

The company is led by three brothers, Adam, Lee and Jason Fuller.

The company's quality assurance team maintain and monitor standards by testing product ranges using audit, analytical and microbiological techniques.

The company's recent contract wins with Leeds-based supermarket chain Asda have been credited with helping British farmers to fight back against European rivals.