Kitchenware manufacturer boosted by home cooking boom

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A kitchenware manufacturer in Worcestershire has been able to tap into a significant uplift in home cooking during lockdown which has seen sales boom.

Planit Products, which produces a range of innovative cookware and homeware products at its site in Malvern, saw its monthly sales figures increase by as much as 50% compared to 2019 following a boost in popularity of home cooking during lockdown.

It has been inundated with orders from high-profile customers, including Lakeland, Sainsbury’s and B&M Bargains, as well as experiencing a surge in new customers online.

Funding from Lloyds Bank helped the firm to ramp up production to meet the growing demand, while continuing to export its goods to the United States, Australia and Europe throughout the coronavirus outbreak.

The business, which featured on an episode of Dragon’s Den for investment in its flagship toastabags range and secured offers from two Dragons, was initially forced to furlough all but four of its 21-strong team as lockdown hit.

However, a £200,000 loan as part of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme (CBILS) from Lloyds Bank helped the firm to adapt and meet a spike in demand for its products, bringing around 90% of its workforce back to work by mid-May.

Caroline Kavanagh, director at Planit Products, said: “People’s passion for home cooking has really accelerated during lockdown, which was a big boost for our business, but meant we had to react quickly. Most of our products are manufactured here in Malvern by our hard-working team, and it is a testament to their efforts that we were able to meet the growing demand for goods both in the UK and overseas.”

Looking ahead, the finance package has provided the manufacturing business with the security to continue with plans to launch a new brand, which had been paused and has now been postponed until next year.

Jason Gregory, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Planit Products is an example of an innovative, successful business here in Worcestershire that has enjoyed growth over recent years. While it was initially hit by the pandemic, it’s been great to see the firm react quickly to a greater demand for their products as people indulged their passion for cooking during lockdown, and we were pleased to be by their side throughout.

“The West Midlands has a proud heritage in the manufacturing sector which Lloyds Bank is pleased to support. As part of our ongoing commitment to helping Britain prosper, we will continue to work closely with manufacturers across the region as they look to build back from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.”