Family Business Halen Môn Receives a 21st Birthday Present to Remember: The Queen’s Award
The family sea salt business, Halen Môn, is to receive the most coveted business award in the UK – The Queen’s Award for Enterprise, in their 21st year of business.
The North Wales company’s core belief is that ‘small changes add up’ – and its continuous commitment to sustainable growth and the environment have helped to improve its commercial performance, culminating in Halen Môn receiving The Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development.
Halen Môn sell their award-winning sea salts all over the world to famous chefs and restaurants, but they believe the by-products – or as they prefer to call them ‘co-products,’ – of the salt-making process, are just as important. They are sold for uses as varied as Venus Flytrap food, fuel for model steam trains, cigar humidors, and supplements for race horses and even racing camels.
Environmental commitments include utilising the solar energy generated on site, planting a wildflower meadow to encourage wildlife, recycling old equipment to make business signage and using an old telephone box to grow chilli and tomato plants. The ‘Saltcote’ which houses their office and production, is clad in Welsh larch, which is baked using an innovative process at low temperatures for long term almost maintenance-free life.
Staff innovation includes a ‘good ideas bonus’ which sees employees receive a bonus in exchange for inventive ideas on how business performance may be improved. Recently, one employee suggested the removal of a pump in favour of gravity doing the work.
The company was set up because founders Alison and David Lea-Wilson fell in love with the surrounding Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty where they are situated. It makes sense then that they are committed to protecting the environment in any way possible.
The Lea-Wilsons work closely with the community. This includes their role as members of the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board and Cynnal Cymru/Sustain Wales. They also work with businesses in North Wales to share best practice and are founding members of the Fine Food Cluster, collaborating on projects such as energy saving measures.
“Winning The Queen’s Award is so encouraging for so many reasons – it is proof that actions we take as individuals all add up to something far greater than the sum of their parts,” said Alison Lea-Wilson.
She added, “On a personal note, it’s wonderful to win this Award, as my father won The Queen’s Award for Export some 30 years ago for selling fire engines abroad.”
Said David Lea-Wilson, “We are all extremely proud of this Award and see it as a reflection of our team as a whole. Every employee at Halen Môn has played their part in our success. Against an uncertain political backdrop concerning climate change, it’s really brilliant to see that the actions everybody in our company take every day are being recognised as worthwhile by Her Majesty The Queen.”
The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the UK’s most prestigious business awards to celebrate and encourage business excellence and recognise outstanding achievement in the fields of International Trade, Innovation and Sustainable Development. Her Majesty announces the awards on her birthday – April 21st – and they are given on the recommendation of the Prime Minister and her Awards Assessment Team.
Said Lady Barbara Judge, Chairman of the Institute of Directors, “Starting a business is an inherently risky and difficult endeavour and those who suceed deserve the recognition they receive through this award. We should celebrate businesses of all shapes and sizes but particularly those that contribute to a more prosperous economy through innovation, international trade and sustainable development.”
The Queen’s Award – a crystal engraved bowl and scroll – will be presented later in the year by the Lord Lieutenant, Her Majesty’s highest representative in the county. David and Alison Lea-Wilson will be invited to a reception at Buckingham Palace later in the year.
Winners of The Queen’s Awards may use The Queen’s Awards Emblem in advertising, marketing and on packaging as a symbol of their quality and success for a five-year period, and during that period the Royal emblem and crown can be flown from a flagpole at the company’s headquarters.
Halen Môn have purchased a new flagpole for the occasion.
About The Anglesey Sea Salt Company/ Halen Môn
The Angelsey Sea Salt / Halen Môn story began 21 years ago with a saucepan of seawater on the Lea-Wilson’s family stove.
Today the company employs 23 full-time staff and its sea salt is enjoyed around the world by chefs, food lovers, and even former US President Barack Obama.
It has been served at the London 2012 Olympics, political summits and royal weddings, and is a vital ingredient in many other premium products including Green & Blacks chocolate and Piper’s Crisps.
Over 100 of the UK’s best delicatessens sell the multi-award-winning Sea Salt, and the company also supplies Marks and Spencer, Waitrose and Harvey Nichols.
Found in more than 22 countries, Halen Môn is the choice of some of the world’s top restaurants.
In January 2014 the company’s Sea Salt was awarded the prestigious European Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status – part of the Protected Food Name scheme which gives Angelsey Sea Salt/ Halen Môn Europe-wide legal protection against imitation or misuse, putting it amongst some of the most famous food products including Champagne, Parma Ham, Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef.
The company has won two other Sustainable business awards in the last two years: The Princes Business in the Community Environmental Leadership Award and the Cynnal Cymru Sustainable Business Award.
2015 saw the opening of Halen Môn’s £1.25 million award-winning Saltcote and visitor centre on the banks of the Menai Strait.