Woolcool are known for creating pioneering chilled packaging with impeccable performance and quality credentials. Their insulated boxes for food delivery, pioneering green insulation and thermal packaging use the incredible natural insulating properties of natural materials, namely wool, to transport Food and Pharmaceutical products around the globe, providing a cost-effective packaging choice for companies that is also good for the planet.
And after spending millions of pounds in research over their first ten years in business, the Woolcool team are rightly proud of the range of products, from the insulated box, to pouches, envelopes and containers that fill the shelves at their Staffordshire HQ in England.
But there’s one other ‘container’ in their offices that they’re very proud of – the trophy cabinet.
Since the very first year in which the company was launched, Woolcool has been a trophy cabinet maker’s dream.
After being founded in 2009, this packaging company has been recognised with numerous accolades as Angela Morris’s ‘eureka’ moment was transformed into an exciting and innovative company.
That flash of inspiration was back in 2002, when the highly-experienced packaging consultant had a stroke of genius that natural sheep wool was the perfect material to insulate food products in insulated boxes for food delivery.
Even from the initial research it was clear that wool was a ‘super fibre’, developed over millions of years of evolution, to stop the transfer of heat and maintain temperature.
Whilst the team enjoyed the plaudits of industry judges, picking up trophies and awards, those accolades would help generate partnerships which would attract Government funding and drive further innovation.
It would culminate with recognition from the very top – the Royal Family.
Right from the start, judges at major awards ceremonies have been impressed by the Woolcool way of doing things from the heart of the company culture all the way to the product design.
In 2009, Woolcool was the new kid on the block and had just signed a deal to partner with foodie pioneers Abel & Cole, who recognised the huge potential of the firm’s sustainable insulated boxes for food delivery. The company’s arrival was immediately cemented by award recognition from within the industry – the first of many awards throughout their ten-year success story.
First, Woolcool were finalists in the prestigious Green Awards, and then won Best Innovation at the Observer Food Monthly Awards.
Being recognised by two major awards schemes in their first year of trading hinted at the success that was the follow.
2010 brought more award recognition, as the industry began to fully appreciate the ecological value and future view of Woolcool’s products, from insulated box design and innovative pouches to thermal packaging.
The company was recognised by the Observer’s Ethical Awards, and was also named Best Eco-Friendly Product at the Green Business Awards.
Then, at the UK Packaging Awards, Woolcool twice caught the eye of the judges – being recognised in the Supply Chain Solution of the Year category, and then crowned winner of the Sustainable Pack of the Year award too.
As word spread further within the industry of Woolcool’s pioneering thermal packaging products, these awards helped consolidate a growing reputation for quality and a dedication to research and innovation.
In 2011, this dedication to research would not only win trophies, it would win financial backing to extend the company’s development work – with the endorsement of the UK Government. Innovate UK, the Government-funded agency tasked with driving technological advances across industry, selected Woolcool as a partner.
This partnership saw the award of the first of three rounds of Government funding into Woolcool’s research and development, which has seen more than £1million invested in scientific work into the benefits of thermal packaging.
Woolcool’s science-led approach to innovation grew in tandem with the burgeoning movement to make commerce more ecologically responsible. As businesses grew more environmentally conscious, Woolcool moved to the forefront – by providing thermal packaging that had data-based ecological credentials.
This commitment was recognised in 2012, when the thermal packaging company was a finalist in the BCE Environmental Leadership Awards, eventually being Highly Commended by the judges for their pioneering approach to green issues.
They were making waves within the packaging community too, picking up a UK Gold Packaging Award at the 2012 Starpack awards.
2013 saw further recognition of Woolcool’s commitment to scientific data, when Government development agency Innovate UK confirmed another round of funding for Woolcool research into how wool-insulated thermal packaging products could benefit the pharma sector.
This Government support would allow Woolcool to take the product range of insulated boxes for food delivery it had developed for the food market and adapt it to create thermal packaging that met the demands of the pharmaceutical sector.
Behind all this high-tech innovation lay the fact that real wool provides better insulation properties than man-made materials such as polystyrene, as well as being lighter, biodegradable, abundant, recyclable and re-usable.
As 2016 began, that innovation was recognised by the Sentinel Business Awards, one of the biggest events of its kind on the UK, when Woolcool picked up the Science and Technology Award.
The next year, in 2017, Woolcool climbed onto the awards podium again, being recognised by their business peers in the heart of England.
At the Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce Business Awards, the firm was a finalist in the Environmental category, and was named Small Business of the Year.
Then, in 2018, came the biggest and most prestigious award in the company’s history – as Woolcool received Royal recognition for its years of research and development.
The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation, one of the most coveted and influential accolades in British business, was awarded to Woolcool. The Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire, Ian Dudson, made the presentation on behalf of the monarch at the firm’s base in Stone, in a celebration attended by the Woolcool team, their friends, clients and supporters.
The five-year accolade saw team members invited to a Royal reception, and allows Woolcool to fly the Queen’s Awards Flag at their main office, as well as using the famous emblem on its marketing and website.
A ‘grant of appointment’ certificate and commemorative crystal trophy take pride of place at Woolcool’s HQ.
The Queen’s Award meant recognition from the highest level, presenting Woolcool with a globally-recognised quality mark that celebrated years of dedication.
Yet more was to follow, as Woolcool’s tenth anniversary year began in 2019.
Woolcool returned to the Sentinel Business Awards in Staffordshire, picking up the winners’ trophy for Science and Technology in Business.
Then came the memorable visit to Woolcool HQ of HRH Prince Charles, to learn more about the work being done by Woolcool to promote the use of natural materials.
HRH is a passionate advocate of Wool and a great supporter of the wool industry, the Prince was guided around the firm’s premises by MD Josie Morris, founder Angela Morris and strategic director Keith Spilsbury.
After speaking about his admiration for Woolcool’s efforts in supporting the use of natural wool, HRH unveiled a plaque to commemorate the firm’s ten years in business, applauded by many of the valued clients and partners who had contributed to its growth and success.
Fittingly, Woolcool’s first decade in operation closed with another award win, which recognised the supportive and family-minded spirit of the company. Behind all the pioneering products, from the insulated boxes for food delivery to the high- tech thermal packaging for the pharma sector, lies a community-minded family ethos that makes Woolcool tick.
At the end of 2019 Woolcool was named Best Small Family Business in the prestigious Midlands Family Business Awards, the latest accolade to recognise the firm’s ability to remain true to its roots, despite such phenomenal growth.
It is the family ethos that has developed over the last decade that is at the heart of everything Woolcool does. It is through the team that the company’s successes have evolved and awards have been achieved. They call it the Woolcool Family.
As 2020 began, Woolcool received the news that the firm had been nominated for the NATIONAL finals of Small Family Business of the Year.
For a firm built on family principles it would be the perfect way to celebrate the start of Woolcool’s second decade – and another addition to the firm’s bursting awards cabinet!