Vertical integration of the process from sea to plate' at John West powerhouse in Victoria Minimum handling ethos key to Heinz Seychelles operation Kit Davies The Seychelles Heinz has now consolidated its ambitious growth programme for the supply of canned and pouch tuna to European markets following the major redevelopment of the Indian Ocean Tuna plant in Victoria. The Seychelles were chosen because the islands are in the middle of unspoilt waters teeming with tuna. The location allows the plant to operate as "a one stop shop", landing and processing at the same location. As John West canned and pouch tuna builds on its "unchallenged superiority" in the UK canned fish sector, with strong NPD activity in added value and convenience, Heinz believes it is fundamental to meeting quality demands that there is as little handling as possible of the raw material. Heinz also operates a plant in Ghana, an added value facility in Brittany, and a sardine factory in Portugal. IOT supplies not just John West, Petit Navire in France and Mareblu in Italy, but also own label customers. Jeremy Coles, general manager ­ UK marketing, John West, said: "The really important element here is fish quality. The factory operates what we call a straight line ethos of minimal handling. It's a vertical integration of the process, from sea to plate." Adolfo Valsecchi, Heinz md of European Seafood, said: "Our philosophy is that we should deliver to the consumer a quality that is as a close as possible to the perfection delivered to us by Mother Nature." Heinz acquired John West in 1997 and in the same year started redeveloping the IOT plant in which it had taken a 60% stake from the Seychelles government the year before. The plant was one of the first tuna canneries to achieve the higher level' of EFSIS accreditation. Last year it was one of the highest safety performers within Heinz Europe's manufacturing sector, and is scheduled to achieve ISO 14001 by the end of 2002. John West leads in British canned/pouch tuna and has a 93% share of the added value sector. Said Coles: "Since the Heinz acquisition, we have invested millions into the brand." {{CANNED GOODS }}