Robert Langmead’s History
The Langmead family can trace its roots back to 1590 in Devon, where the family held a variety of businesses including farming. In 1881 William and Nancy Langmead moved to West Sussex with their four sons and William established a series of land holdings and a string of dairies.
In 1926, his son Walter James Langmead began focussing on farm breeding, genetics and technology which was to prove integral to improving farming during World War II, and he became a pioneer of professional farming and championed mechanisation.
In the 1950’s Brian Langmead (Robert’s father) took over the farming tenancy at Home Farm in Selsey and developed the largest dairy herd in Europe milking 720 cows three times a day. He also introduced the concept of cow kennels to the UK, manufacturing and selling them to the dairy industry.
In the 1980s Brian began continuous wheat farming on a large scale focusing on developing yield. In the later 1980s, after completing a study tour to the USA and Australia, Brian’s eldest son David established Langmead Farms. Growing 80 acres of iceberg lettuce he began a long-term relationship with UK retailers as a consumer focused grower. Innovation in farming techniques, mechanisation and genetics continues in Langmead Farms to this day.
In 1994, Robert and David Langmead established Natures Way Foods to provide a solution to the growing prepared bagged salad market, later diversifying into prepared fruit. By 1999, Natures Way Foods became the fastest growing food company in the UK, topping the rankings in the Sunday Times Virgin Fastrack 100.
In 2004 Robert Langmead set up Kingsbridge Estates Ltd as privately owned investment and development company focused on acquiring commercial property in key sustainable locations across the south of England predominately in West Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire.
In 2004, Natures Way Foods invested in Sun Salads Ltd watercress farms. With 5 watercress farms in the UK and 1 in Spain, Sun Salads supplies fresh watercress for retail and wholesale all year round. In 2010 Sun Salads Ltd was awarded the “Cleaner Water” category of the Environment Agency’s Environmental Pioneer Awards.
In 2006 Robert founded USA-based Wild Rocket Foods in California to supply pre-packed and prepared food as well as vegetable based dips and fresh fruit juices using excellent quality and natural ingredients. The company was set up to service Tesco’s North American food stores, fresh&easy Neighborhood Markets and was based in Riverside, California.
By 2010, Tesco bought Wild Rocket Foods as part of its food campus strategy. You can see the Financial Times article: ‘Tesco takes over fresh&easy suppliers’.
During the 2010s Robert Langmead became Chairman of Natures Way Foods USA Inc. which owns Fusion Floral LLC and Ameri-Cal Floral LLC, based in Northern California. Both companies procure and supply fresh cut flowers and potted plants to the US market, and supply major US chains including fresh&easy and Trader Joe’s.
In addition, Robert invested in Better Bakery. Based in Valencia in northern Los Angeles and founded and run by Robert’s friend Bryan Freeman, this business was created with the idea of producing frozen sandwich melts to the likes of Walmart and Sam’s Club.
Today, Robert maintains his interest in the food production and manufacturing and commercial property industries that collectively generate a turnover of £160 million and employs more than 1,000 people.
In 2016 Robert remains the Founder of Natures Way Foods; the company named the UK’s 21st largest fresh produce supplier in 2016’s FPJ ‘Big 50’ Companies listing, climbing three places from last year, continuing the company’s journey from small bagged salad supplier to leading fresh food manufacturer.
Kingsbridge Estates today employs 10 people with asset value of £55m. In 2016, the company acquired Linea House, Ancells Business Park, Fleet; a high quality asset in a prosperous area with an attractive business space. In April 2016, Kingsbridge began its latest project at Drayton, Chichester Food Park with the development of an 123,500 sq ft facility on a 8.5 acre site.
- Kingsbridge Estates Ltd: Targeted to double their assets by 2020.
- Natures Way Foods: Due to double their turnover over the next 5 years.
Transgenerational Capital Growth
The Langmead’s long-held family tradition of hard work, enterprise and innovation is driven by the ambition to make a better life for future generations. The family believe that they are the custodians of the land not just for their children but for the entire community and that each generation should carve out their own identity on the business.
Long-term sustainable business growth and a strong sense of giving back to the community remain key to Robert’s ambitions for his children and future grandchildren.