Vestey was born in Liverpool, the fifth child of provision merchant Samuel Vestey and younger brother of William Vestey, later to become his business partner. He was educated at the Liverpool Institute and then joined his father's firm in 1883. He was soon given the management of his father's corned beefcannery in Chicago. In 1890 he joined William in his new business of importing refrigerated meat from Argentina. The Union Cold Storage Company was to become one of the world's largest cold storage operations. They began to diversify into other food products and in 1906 also began importing from China. In 1909 they purchased two tramp steamers (Pakeha, renamed Broderick, and Rangatira, renamed Brodmore) for the China trade and converted them into refrigerated ships. This was the beginning of the Blue Star Line, which was registered in 1911. They set up their own cattleranches in Argentina. By 1925 the Blue Star Line was the largest refrigerated fleet in the world. In the United Kingdom the Vestey brothers owned 2,365 butcher's shops. Edmund succeeded William as chairman in 1940 and held the post until his death in 1953.