Polish Specialities

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Polish Specialities is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.


Managing Director
Magdalena Harvey
We import more than
2,000 perishable and non-
perishable products into
the UK
For two decades, Polish Specialities Ltd have been selling and
distributing traditional Polish food in the UK. As a company,
they believe it is important to be in this kind of business
only if one is passionate about, and believes in, the food that is
being sold. This is emphatically the case for Managing Director
Magda Harvey, who tells
The Parliamentary Review
that she is
immensely proud of being Polish and that Polish cuisine’s high
quality lends itself well to a broader market than is currently the
case. She also discusses the company’s manner of operating
and the market conditions it operates in.
We specialise in Polish food, importing over 2,000 perishable and non-perishable
products into the UK. I started the venture in 1999 and, at the time of writing
this article, are about to celebrate our 20th anniversary. We operate from two
warehouses based in Croydon and supply a broad market, both traditional and
supermarkets including Sainsbury’s and Morrisons. We also use a consolidation
plant in Poland, from which many of our products aredelivered.
The keys to our 20 years of success
It’s often alleged that quality and quantity cannot come together and that a
business must pick one or the other. I disagree with this notion and seek instead
to provide the highest quality Polish food products while also performing at scale. I
employ 27 people at the time of writing this article, and nothing leaves our hands
without it first being checked for quality.
»Managing Director:
Magdalena Harvey
»Founded in 1999
»Based in Croydon, Surrey
»Services: Wholesale and
distribution of Polish food and
»No. of employees: 27
»The widest choice of Polish
food and drinks available on a
daily basis in the UK
Polish Specialities Ltd
Highlighting best practice
Ultimately, I and the management are
proud of being Polish and love the
food we sell, so we take utmost pride
in our company.
We believe fervently in Polish culture
and cuisine and want this to show in
our products. If someone asks why
we don’t also sell food from other
eastern European countries, I tell them
it’s because I can only do what I’m an
expert in.
Over the course of roughly 20 years,
we have developed a keen sense of
what customers – both traditional and
chains – are looking for and expect
from us. It’s worth mentioning that
one of the great things about the
Polish food we sell is that it has the
exact unique taste of centuries-long
Polish tradition, but it is produced with
modern scalable methods that make
it of high quality and attractive for
changing customertrends.
One of the keys to our success was
winning loyalty among our buyers and
suppliers, ensuring we provide them
with good deals and work with them
honestly and efficiently.
By being trusted in this way, we ensure
long-term custom. Another component
of our success is a strong appetite for
growth and investment.
As a company, we are always looking
for opportunities and keenly invest in
the research and development side of
Always prepared for the
changing economic and
consumer landscape
I started this business before Poland
joined the EU and always sought to
cater to the Polish people of Britain
who missed their traditional niche
When Poland joined the EU in
2004, we experienced considerable
We specialise in
wholesale and
Some of our products
We believe
fervently in
Polish culture
and cuisine
and want this
to show in our
expansion, and we were well placed
to cater to this fast-growing market
because of our long-standing
presence in the UK and second-to-
However, we aim to cater for more
than just Polish people living in the UK.
Although the quality of our food is
high – both in terms of taste and
nutritional value (fewer preservatives) –
non-Polish people have not yet shown
a willingness to try and buy Polish food
on a large scale.
Moving forward, this is an aspect
of our business that we would like
to improve – and we do this by
promoting the food in a way that’s
accessible for the average consumer.
One of the main challenges in this
regard is that our food has fewer
preservatives, which although healthier
means it doesn’t stay on shelves as
However, western European people
are increasingly moving toward daily
shopping, so this is something we can
capitalise on.
Brexit is a big subject, but we’ve
continued to experience good growth
thanks to our values and outstanding
For example, we experienced 20 per
cent growth in the 2016/17 period and
30 per cent growth in 2017/18.
The only fear is that, as Polish people
begin to move back to Poland, we
might lose some customers – but we
do not observe this happening just yet.
All we can do for now is keep a close
eye on politicaldevelopments.
A company people want to
work for and with
Ultimately, we believe no task is
too big for us, even when there are
considerable challenges.
This is because I have a fantastic
team who are always willing to go
the extra mile, many of whom have
been working for us for over ten years
and are incredibly hard working and
devoted to thecompany.
We make sure we’re a company that
people really want to work for. This
means going the extra mile in terms
of employee wellbeing. We allow our
employees maximum flexibility and
This excellent mix – of high-quality
food, fantastic staff and strong ethics
– will remain the foundation of our
success as we move forward. On this
basis, we remain optimistic, whatever
challenges come our way.
I have known
Magda for
many years.
She has
common sense
and a great
approach. She
is great to work
with and
together we
have developed
world foods for
Noor Ali
Senior Buying Manager


This article was sponsored by Polish Specialities. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.