His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales visited the head office of Iceland Foods during his tour of Wales which will continue over the coming days to mark Wales Week.
Headquartered in Deeside, North Wales, Iceland is celebrating its fiftieth year on the British high street this year, having opened its first store in Oswestry during November 1970. The retailer recently opened its thousandth store in Newport, South Wales, and today employs 30,000 colleagues.
During the visit, His Royal Highness met with and thanked several Iceland colleagues, representing the thousands of retail workers who have been on the frontline of the Covid-19 crisis, serving customers in stores and delivering essentials to thousands of customers across the country.
Included in these were four colleagues who were previously recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for their dedication throughout the pandemic. Two of these colleagues were commended for their initiative in launching priority shopping hours for the elderly at the height of the pandemic, a move which was later rolled out nationwide by Iceland and replicated by many other retailers.
Launching priority hours for the elderly was part of Iceland’s wider efforts to reach the most vulnerable, which also included upscaling its delivery operation by recruiting 5,000 new drivers and pickers, and introducing priority hours and delivery slots for the NHS, care workers and students. Community action included Iceland’s response to Marcus Rashford’s child poverty task force, providing food and freezers to community groups and a number of charitable partnerships and donations through the Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation.
Richard Walker, Managing Director of Iceland, said: “It was a pleasure to host His Royal Highness at Deeside, 34 years after his first visit to our head office. Today’s visit came during a crucial year for our business, marking fifty years of serving the UK’s communities on high streets across the country. Our people have been core to our success and the visit celebrated their ongoing dedication and commitment especially during the pandemic, which has proven to be one of the most challenging periods in our history.”
During the visit, The Prince also visited the Iceland development kitchen where he met with teams responsible for developing product ranges, and supply chain teams who played a crucial role in ensuring that stock reached supermarket shelves during weeks of widespread panic buying, a time which saw a 30% increase in sales of frozen food.
Finally, His Royal Highness met with Iceland colleagues leading on the retailer’s Doing it Right sustainability strategy. Iceland has led the way on various initiatives in this area, being the first retailer globally to commit to removing plastic from all own label packaging by the end of 2023 and the first to remove palm oil in its entirety from own label ranges during 2018.
During its fifty years, Iceland has remained rooted in the communities it serves and given back to a number of good causes. The Iceland Food Charitable Foundation has donated over £30 million to date, to a variety of causes including £17m via its Dementia: ‘Let’s Beat It’ campaign.