Updates from the Living Wage Foundation


The Living Wage Foundation is pleased to announce that upmarket frozen food retailer COOK has become an accredited Living Wage employer. 

COOK manufactures and sells remarkable frozen food and the move will see all staff in the kitchens in Sittingbourne, Kent and Ilminster, Somerset as well as in 43 company-owned shops paid at least the Living Wage of £7.85 an hour or £9.15 if working in London. A total of 322 employees from across the business will receive a pay rise.

Rhys Moore, director, Living Wage Foundation said: 

We are delighted to welcome COOK to the Living Wage movement as an accredited employer.As both a retailer and food manufacturer with a growing presence across the UK it is fantastic to see achieving Living Wage accredited status so high on the agenda of this business. We hope that the work COOK has done to enable them to implement the Living Wage will encourage others in this sector to follow suit and see the Living Wage as a mark of responsible business. At a time when over half of those in poverty are also in work, the Living Wage can make a real difference to hard working families. Over 1,500 businesses are Living Wage employers, who reward a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay.

The Living Wage is calculated each year by an independent body. It takes into account all the costs of living and is updated annually. It enjoys cross party support and there are now over 1,500 accredited organisations including companies such as Nestle, Nationwide and SSE.

Edward Perry, Founder of COOK said:

Our purpose at COOK is to create a remarkable food business that’s a force for good in society. That means paying people properly so they don’t need to depend on state handouts to survive and also making sure everyone shares in our success. We were already paying above the minimum wage of £6.50 an hour; but after 18 years I’m very pleased that COOK is finally in a robust financial position, making a decent profit each year. Most of that profit is ploughed back into the business. What’s left over is available to be paid as dividends to shareholders. Given our purpose, we felt it would be inappropriate for shareholders to get a dividend while COOK wasn’t paying people a Living Wage, as measured by a credible, independent benchmark. At COOK, we know our product and our brand is only as good as our people. They all do a remarkable job. We’re delighted to now be an official Living Wage employer.

At the time of the first Living Wage Week in 2012 there were just 100 accredited businesses, two years later in November 2014, that number had topped 1,000, and now there are 1,500 businesses carrying the Living Wage mark across the UK, and approaching a quarter of the FTSE100.

A recent poll by Nationwide, an accredited Living Wage employer and principal partner of the Living Wage Foundation, revealed that 87% of the public thought that those businesses that can, should pay the Living Wage and 58% would be more likely to use the goods and services of a company that paid its employees the Living Wage.

For further information, to request interviews, photos or to discuss filming opportunities please contact: 

Living Wage: Gillian Owen, 07876 246 150, gillian.owen@citizensuk.org.uk

COOK: Rachel Bailey, 07930 483318, rachel.bailey@cookfood.net

Notes to Editors

About the Living Wage Foundation

The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually. The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. Employers choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis. The Living Wage enjoys cross party support, with public backing from the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.

The London Living Wage is currently £9.15 per hour. This figure is set annually by the Greater London Authority and covers all boroughs in Greater London. The UK Living Wage for outside of London is currently £7.85 per hour. This figure is set annually by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University.

The Living Wage Foundation recognises and celebrates the leadership shown by Living Wage employers across the UK. There are currently over 1,500 accredited employers. We are an initiative of Citizens UK. We believe that work should be the surest way out of poverty.

A bit more about COOK

COOK is an independent business and one of the UK’s first certified B Corporations, a global movement seeking to redefine success in business. COOK runs a big kitchen and a puddings kitchen where it’s unique, frozen food is prepared by hand and operates 80 branded shops across the UK. Its food is also sold in branded freezers through more than 350 independent shops and through home delivery (www.cookfood.net). 

COOK’s founding principle was to use exactly the same techniques and ingredients that a good domestic cook would use at home, so everything looks and tastes homemade. As proof of its handmade nature, the name of the individual chef who cooked each dish is printed on the packaging. Because COOK’s food is blast frozen at -35°C all the nutrients and flavour are locked in so it tastes freshly made when it’s removed from the oven or microwave (all dishes can be cooked from frozen).

The COOK range includes:

  • Everyday meals for busy people in one and two portions such as Lasagne al Forno, Moroccan Spiced Lamb Tagine, Classic Fisherman’s Pie and Chicken, Ham & Leek Pie
  • Amazing curries such as Chicken Jalfrezi, Lamb Dupiaza and Keralan Prawn Curry
  • Mouth-watering OMG lunch pots all with less than 400 calories and 14g of fat, including Nasi Goreng, Chicken Noodle Laksa and Caribbean Chicken with Rice and Beans. 
  • Posh dishes for entertaining including Beef Wellington and Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks 
  • Indulgent desserts such as Chocolate & Salted Caramel Pavlova and White Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake 
  • Children’s meals and organic baby food 


6th July 2015
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