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Cooking the greens

Old office equipment, reclaimed wood panels and re-engineered racking bars are just some of the materials used by organic food manufacturer, What On Earth, to construct a new kitchen at their London premises.

The award winning company had to build the kitchen due to a major increase in business but constructed it out of recycled supplies in a bid to reduce its impact on the environment.  The kitchen was the brain child of What On Earth owners Jeremy Jaffé and Rolf de Polla, both of whom are advocates for green living and believe in having an eco-friendly work ethos.

What On Earth is a manufacturer, supplier and distributor of predominantly organic food and ingredients. The company was set up by Jaffé and de Polla 14 years ago after they left the classic car industry. Starting off making organic pizzas it now produces a wide range of retail and food service products, supplying cafes, restaurants, delis and food shops across the UK.

“We are very dedicated to keeping our carbon footprint low and instill strict environmental ethics at work, so we think it only right that any new developments echo this,” says Jaffé. “We are challenging ourselves and trying to inspire others at the same time. Also, by using recycled materials we’re reducing waste and increasing sustainability.” 

Since launching almost 14 years ago What On Earth has grown considerably.  In 2011 orders doubled and profits increased by 40%. This year sales are up another 30%.  What’s more the company has just started working with a new partner, which will see it producing food for national distribution.  This partnership will considerably increase output, therefore presenting a need for the company to expand and build a new kitchen.

What On Earth champions environmental awareness throughout the whole business so the kitchen was constructed in an eco-friendly way.  It was made from recycled and re-engineered materials. Old office windows, doors and door frames were used in the kitchen as was an old shop roller door. 

Re-engineered racking bars were used to form the skeleton of the kitchen and the staff room was made from re-used wood panels.  The kitchen ventilation unit was made from recycled refrigeration units.  And all materials were clad in white fireproof, food safe plastic sheeting in order to abide by health and safety guidelines.

Spending less on building work allowed the company money to spend on energy efficient kitchen equipment.  This allows output to be more proficient and resourceful and helps reduce environmental impacts.  By using energy efficient machinery What On Earth can avoid unnecessary energy waste, save on maintenance costs and drive down costs per unit, therefore benefitting both consumers and retailers in the long run.  Energy efficient equipment has a longer lifespan and can help create better and consistent food quality and less food spoilage.

The new kitchen is located in a unit at What On Earth’s Battersea based business park and became fully functioning in July.  The company now has two kitchens in London, plus a BRC and Soil Association accredited patisserie in Bridgwater, Somerset.

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Laura Collins, marketing manager, What On Earth


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