"Working from home, many people were working longer hours and needed to be able to grab a quick and tasty snack or meal, but wanted reassurance that it was optimally-balance nutritionally"
Mark Coxhead, CEO of The Protein Works
Cheshire-based health and fitness nutrition business, The Protein Works, has seen turnover grow by 40% year on year with the pandemic driving the acceleration of the health and wellness trend.
The company’s record-breaking results for the year ending August 31st 2020 saw net revenues hit £17.6m, rising from £12.5m the previous year; and EBITDA reaching £1.6m.
Runcorn-based The Protein Works, which largely sells online direct to the consumer, has benefitted from the growth in ecommerce following the Covid outbreak as well as an increased desire for a healthy lifestyle – for example, its market-leading vegan range saw a marked rise in sales as more people choose a plant-based diet.
Established in 2012, The Protein Works offers premium health and fitness nutrition with an extensive range of over 1,000 product lines including shakes, snacks, foods and supplements.
As well as strong demand in the UK, The Protein Works has experienced growing sales internationally across its nine European online stores.
Following an MBO in 2019, backed by YFM Equity Partners, the business has seen sustained growth. Having established a senior management team including a CFO and a CMO to support founder/CEO Mark Coxhead, the company has pushed ahead with a programme of product innovation including its Vegan Wondershake which is now one of its best-selling products.
Over the last year, The Protein Works has also made significant investment in premises, with a £500,000 refurbishment of its offices and scaling of its production facilities in Runcorn where all product development, manufacture and despatch is based. It has also upgraded the core IT software that drives its online retail offering and more than doubled its storage capacity with the recent addition of a second warehouse in the town.
“Following the MBO in summer 2019, we were already in a strong position going into 2020 with the business gaining momentum, and, when the pandemic hit, we saw a huge uptick in sales both in the UK and internationally,” explains Mark Coxhead, CEO of The Protein Works. “There’s no doubt that last spring there was a massive rise in demand for health and fitness products, plus a sharp increase in ecommerce with people turning to online shopping.
“We also benefitted from the consumer need for convenience – with the shift to home working, many people were working longer hours and needed to be able to grab a quick on-the-go snack or meal, but wanted the reassurance of knowing that it was optimally-balanced nutritionally as well as tasting great.”
Coxhead continues: “Looking ahead, we will be continuing to focus on product innovation and also on expanding our talented team which grew by 50% in the last financial year - we expect it to increase to around 150 people by the summer.
“We have been fortunate to be backed by such supportive investors – YFM have been behind us all the way, from helping us establish a senior management team to backing our strategy and investment in our production facilities. They are fantastic to work with and it is testimony to them that we are where we are today.”