Cooking equipment manufacturer Unox is bucking the trend for the foodservice sector, exceeding pre-Covid levels for both turnover and orders in the first half of 2021 as the business continues to meet its growth strategy.
Despite the pandemic challenges faced last year, the global Unox business achieved 3.5% growth in turnover in 2020, compared with a total foodservice sector decline of 25%. The company believes that product innovation, continued recruitment and a strong customer focus has helped to continue that growth into 2021, with Unox growing turnover by a further 29.1% compared with 2020 figures, to more than €80m.
Order numbers are also rising for the Italian-headquartered manufacturer, up 80% on the same period last year, and by 60% compared with 2019 figures.
Scott Duncan, MD for Unox UK, said: “These figures are for the global business but they are representative of our continued growth in the UK too. They are an indication of how we have been able to navigate the challenges of Covid-19 through continued product innovation, investment in facilities and most importantly investment in our people too.
“Unox has a target to double its global turnover within the 4 years and growing our team is at the heart of that. Globally, we have hired 70 new employees in the last 12 months. This includes the formation of a dedicated UK key account team to help look after national chains, larger dealers and groups, as well as adding three new active marketing chefs to support UK customers.
“However, we know that this recruitment drive must continue in order to make sure we can continue to meet customer expectations as we grow – particularly in our production and assembly facilities in Italy, where all Unox ovens and the majority of related components are made. We’re aware that there have been some delays as we grow but we’ve committed to create at least 50 new roles in the factory alone over the next 12 months to help address that.”
Unox feels its position has been strengthened by the fact the company makes 97% of its oven components in-house and the rest are sourced within 30km of the factory in Padua, Italy.
Nicola Michelon, CEO of Unox, said: “Our production process is vertically integrated – our ovens are not simply assembled in Italy, we also directly produce components and accessories, from electronic boards to detergents. For this reason, at a time when many other companies have had great supply difficulties, Unox has managed to grow and gain market share.”
Work has started on a new Unox factory in Italy, which will add 60,000metre2 dedicated to manufacturing and logistics, 4,000metre2 for research and development, as well as 2,000 metre2 of staff facilities. The carbon-neutral facility is part of Unox’s EmiXion 2030 project, which aims to achieve net zero across the global business by 2030.
In the UK, Unox expects to move into new, sustainable headquarters in early 2022, built to a carbon neutral specification including solar panels on the roof, electric car charge points, heat pump other eco-friendly features including carbon neutral paint and floor coverings.