Demand for specialist potato products has prompted Tesco supplier Branston to invest £2m in a 50-tonnes-per-hour advanced grading system.
Branston development director Mark Willcox, who oversaw the project, said the new equipment allowed the company to adjust its grading criteria to respond quickly to customers’ requirements.
It was now able to ensure potatoes supplied for sale as fresh, fresh prepared or processed met a precise ideal specification for their end use, with fewer downgrades.
“We needed more flexibility in our grading systems as consumer demand for more niche products continues to rise.
“The new lines enable the product development team to create specifications that were simply not possible before. Size, shape, weight and quality requirements can be delivered as required by the production team. The possibilities are endless.”
The system has already started to pay dividends, said Willcox. Branston has taken from a competitor a contract for making stuffed mini jacket potatoes for Tesco.
Branston will launch a potato-based barbecue product in Tesco this summer.