Our roots

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We’re proud to be a non-corporate business that hasn’t forgotten our roots and still represent the same passion for quality, service and values that we were built on and that our customers can rely on – whether they’re a large, nationally-operating restaurant group or a small, independent village pub.

In 1966, John Harris and Bill Hawkins started the business when it was just a small shop in Bicester and a 3-tonne Austin lorry. What started out as just fresh produce and have grown to include a range of fruit, veggies, dairy and much more!

After 10 years in the business, they had expanded to 32 shops. In the 80’s FreshGro (as it was known) grew into a fruit and vegetable wholesaler and in 1987, Bill retired from the business, leaving FreshGro as a 100% Harris family business.

This successful business kept growing to become less of a retailer and more of a supplier, with this promotion, they made one final tweak to the name – and so Fresh Direct was born! More space was needed for this rapidly growing business and in 2001 we constructed our brand new HQ in Bicester.

Excitingly, in July 2016, the Fresh Direct family was bought by Sysco, the world’s largest foodservice company. Even though we have new owners, this has not changed the way we run our business or our mission! We still like to think of ourselves as that local fresh food seller.

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