Sky’s The Limit for Food Manufacturer Following Investment
A global aviation catering company is expanding its footprint with the support of a six-figure funding package from Lloyds Bank.
Blue Sky World, which is based in Milton Keynes and operates out of Heathrow, manufactures and supplies meals into some of the world’s largest airlines and aviation catering operators, including Virgin Atlantic, Gate Group and DHL.
As the only UK-based economy food manufacturer in the industry, the business focuses on supporting British farmers, maximising local produce and designing menus around seasonality. Demand is growing among airlines to source in-flight meals locally, helping to reduce the carbon emissions involved in transporting meals to flights around the world.
Blue Sky is looking to use the funding from Lloyds Bank to invest in new machinery to help make its production facility more efficient and increase the number of meals it’s able to supply into an industry returning to pre-pandemic levels. Before Covid-19, the business was producing 60,000 meals a week and it is already close to returning to these levels thanks to an influx of new clients.
Over the course of the pandemic, Blue Sky grew its client base by 40% as it pledged to not furlough staff and continue producing meals for the airlines still running reduced services at theSky’ height of lockdowns. Now it is focused on increasing its capacity to meet demand from its new clients, particularly supporting the boom in premium cabin meals.
Tom Allen, head of global food and beverage at Blue Sky World, said: “The airline industry is arguably the sector most affected by lockdowns, with almost all travel coming to a complete stop. And while meal production halted, we used the pandemic as an opportunity to support our staff, work closely with suppliers and build relationships with airlines to make sure we came out the other side stronger – and we have.
“Thanks to the support from Lloyds Bank, we’re able to invest in new machinery and build our development team to ensure that we’re able to supply more of the best-quality in-flight meals, all while championing British ingredients.”
Fahim Ahmed, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank, added: “Blue Sky’s growth is testament to the success that putting relationships first can produce. It has been able to put itself head and shoulders above its competitors and stand out among a demanding, fast-paced airline industry.
“Following a busy summer, the industry is returning to its pre-pandemic levels and Blue Sky are well-positioned to support the growth in demand. We’ll continue to be by their side as they move to support airlines and provide travellers with high-quality, locally-sourced meals.”