Iceland Foods is a unique British food retailer with over 900 stores throughout the UK, a further
40 owned or franchised stores across Europe, and a global export business. This is its story.
Malcolm Walker opens the first Iceland shop in Oswestry, Shropshire, selling loose frozen food.
The business has grown to 15 Iceland stores in North Wales and the North West, supported by a cold store in Rhyl.
Iceland opens its first purpose-built freezer centre at Stretford, Manchester, in 1978, and introduces own brand products.
The company opens a new cold store and head office at Deeside, Flintshire.
Iceland has grown to 37 stores.
Iceland has 81 stores and becomes a public company through one of the most successful flotations ever seen on the London Stock Exchange.
Iceland becomes the first UK supermarket to remove artificial colourings, flavourings, non-essential preservatives and monosodium glutamate from its own brand products, two decades before some of its major rivals.
Iceland acquires its much larger, southern-based rival Bejam, creating a truly national chain with 465 stores.
Iceland bans mechanically recovery meat (MRM) from all Iceland brand products.
Iceland has grown to 752 stores and enjoyed 25 consecutive years of sales and profit growth.
Iceland introduces its unique free home delivery service, extended nationwide in 1997.
Iceland pioneers GreenFreeze technology in the UK by launching the Kyoto range of fridges and freezers, endorsed by Greenpeace
Iceland becomes the first food retailer to guarantee that its complete own label range is free of GM ingredients.
Iceland launches the UK’s first nationwide home shopping service.
Iceland becomes the first supermarket to ban the use of artificial colours in hen feed.
Iceland makes a recommended offer for Booker, the UK’s largest cash-and-carry operator, with the aim of exploiting buying and other synergies between the two businesses.
New Iceland chief executive Bill Grimsey issues a massive profit warning, and Malcolm Walker and other senior managers are forced to leave the company
Iceland-Booker is renamed The Big Food Group and launches a grandiose recovery plan (Click here to read the saga of ‘The one, two, three, four, five year recovery plan’) but customer numbers and sales remain in steady decline while costs escalate.
The Big Food Group is nearing bankruptcy as provisions made in 2001 come close to exhaustion.
The Big Food Group is taken private and Iceland returned to the management of Malcolm Walker and other senior executives who had been ejected in 2001.
A spectacular turnaround sees a 10% sales decline turned into growth of 20% year-on-year by March 2006, making Iceland the UK’s fastest-growing food retailer.
Iceland introduces round pound pricing and begins sponsorship of the flagship ITV show ‘I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!’
Iceland is restored to robust financial health, generating cash and recording an operating profit of almost £100 million.
Iceland opens more than 70 new stores across the UK, including 51 bought from the receivers of Woolworths, and sales exceed £2 billion for the first time.
Iceland flies almost 800 store, regional and area managers for a five day conference at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
Iceland celebrates its 40th anniversary with a spectacular Charity Ball that raised over £750,000 for its Charity of the Year, Help for Heroes.
The Iceland Everest Expedition raises over £1 million for charity partner Alzheimer’s Research UK. CEO Malcolm Walker (65) and his son Richard (30) reach the North Col of Everest at 23,000ft and four other members of the team reach the summit.
Iceland is named Best Big Company to Work For in the UK, and Most Improved big company, while CEO Malcolm Walker is named Best Leader of a big company in the UK at the Sunday Times Best Companies awards.
Malcolm Walker concludes a successful £1.45 billion management buyout of Iceland, backed by co-investors Brait S.A., Lord Kirkham and The Landmark Group.
Iceland announces its seventh consecutive set of record results, with sales of £2.614 billion and record EBITDA of £230.2 million.
Iceland enters food production by acquiring its supplier Loxton Foods, later renamed Iceland Manufacturing Limited.
Malcolm Walker takes part In The Footsteps of Legends: The Iceland Antarctic Expedition, raising funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK and Walking With The Wounded.
Iceland begins trials of a new online shopping service, re-entering a market place it had led in 1999, but left to focus on the recovery of the core business in 2005.
Iceland features in a three-part reality documentary series “Iceland Foods: Life In The Freezer Cabinet” on BBC2.
Malcolm Walker publishes his autobiography, Best Served Cold, with all proceeds being donated to Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Iceland takes direct control of its seven franchised stores in the Republic of Ireland.
Iceland is named Best Big Company To Work For in the UK for the second time in three years, having been placed second in 2013.
Malcolm Walker is named “Most People Focused CEO” at the annual HR Excellence Awards
Iceland completes the national roll-out of its online shopping service, well ahead of schedule.
Iceland opens the first of its new concept larger stores, The Food Warehouse.
Iceland launches its new “Power of Frozen” marketing campaign, designed to change public perceptions of frozen food.
Iceland launches an exclusive new range of Slimming World ready meals.
Iceland inspires and helps to create the UCL Retail Partnership of nine retailers pledged to donate some or all of their revenues from the sale of single-use carrier bags to dementia research.
Iceland forms a new partnership with the South African investment holding company Brait, which increases its shareholding in the business to 57%.
Iceland announces the recruitment of two industry stars, Neil Nugent and David Lennox, to create a new food development team for the Iceland brand.
Iceland launches the latest phase of its ‘Power of Frozen’ TV advertising, capturing the reactions of real families to surprise deliveries of Iceland food, and begins a new partnership with the vlogging network Channel Mum.
Iceland is named Britain’s top online store in the annual supermarket survey conducted by consumer champions Which?
Malcolm Walker officially opens Iceland’s new £2 million Development Kitchen at the company’s head office in Deeside.
Iceland opens an exciting new style of store in Clapham, London, following a comprehensive refit and modernisation.
Iceland announces that work had begun on the second phase of a £5 million investment programme at its head office in Deeside, Flintshire.
Iceland presents a £3 million cheque to UCL Dementia Research: the first instalment of a total of £10 million pledged to UCL to support its development of the hub of the new UK Dementia Research Institute.
Iceland is named Best Online Supermarket in the UK for the second consecutive year in a survey by consumer champion Which?
Iceland tops The Grocer’s league table of the Top 50 Independent Retailers in the UK
Iceland is named Online Supermarket of the Year at The Grocer Gold Awards, where it also wins Business Initiative of the Year for the Iceland Kitchen.
Iceland celebrates the award of a knighthood to its Founder & Executive Chairman Malcolm Walker.
Iceland continued its run of awards success by winning an Outstanding Achievement Award at the Retail Industry Awards and being named Online Retailer of the Year at the IGD Awards, where Sir Malcolm Walker was also presented with The Grocer Cup for outstanding leadership.
Iceland becomes the first major retailer in the world to commit to eliminating plastic packaging from its own label products – to be completed by 2023.
Sir Malcolm Walker receives the night’s top award for Outstanding Contribution to Retail at the Retail Week Awards, where Iceland is also named Community Retailer of the year for its Beating Dementia Campaign.
The Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation fulfils its pledge to donate a total of £10 million to fund the Hub of the UK Dementia Research Institute at UCL, a year ahead of schedule.
Iceland becomes the first UK supermarket to remove palm oil as an ingredient in all its own label food – completed by the end of 2018.
Iceland becomes the first UK supermarket to install trial reverse vending machines for plastic bottles in stores in England, Scotland and Wales – and provides refunds on an amazing 311,500 bottles by the end of the year.
Iceland becomes the only supermarket in the UK to sell plastic-free chewing gum.
A new strategic alliance is signed with UK home, garden and leisure retailer The Range, which will introduce Iceland’s food offer into The Range stores.
The Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation launches a major new two year partnership with the environmental charity Surfers Against Sewage.
Iceland’s Rang-Tan animation, designed to raise awareness of tropical deforestation driven by expanding palm oil production, is viewed more than 70 million times on social media – making it becomes the most viewed Christmas ad of all time, despite not being cleared for TV broadcast.
Iceland is named the UK’s top supermarket for customer satisfaction by the Institute of Customer Service for the second time
Iceland trials the UK’s first plastic bag free supermarket
Iceland becomes the first supermarket to launch priority shopping periods for the elderly and vulnerable in response to the Covid-19 pandemic
Iceland publishes its second plastics annual report, demonstrating a 29% reduction in its own label plastic packaging usage since January 2018
Iceland publishes its first food waste report, showing a 23% reduction in its food waste over the last two years.
Iceland chairman Sir Malcolm Walker and CEO Tarsem Dhaliwal return the company to full British family ownership
Iceland publishes its first carbon report, revealing a 74% reduction in its carbon emissions since 2011 and putting it on track for zero carbon by 2042
Iceland publishes its full plastic packaging footprint for the first time, and joins with leading campaigners to urge mandatory reporting and plastic reduction targets
Iceland marks its 50th anniversary on 18 November.