The Jersey Royal Company is planning to launch regional potato brands following its acquisition of St Nicholas Court Farms.

JRC, which gained a foothold on the British mainland when it completed the purchase of Thanet-based St Nicholas Court Farms in October, will use the site as a springboard to launch two branded potato lines, starting with a Kentish range later this year.

The line would appeal to multiples, some of which were currently transporting produce from Kent to Lincolnshire for packing, said JRC MD Tom Binnet.

Although details of the new brand are being kept under wraps, JRC plans to grow penetration within Kent and then roll it out into surrounding counties.

The launch will be underpinned by a £1.5m investment in the St Nicholas Court Farms packhouse, where the company intends to install up-to-date cold storage, grading and packing facilities.

Many of the multiples were looking to increase their regional supply and shoppers wanted products with local identity, said Binnet. "Some areas of the country are more concerned about it than others. Kent happens to be one of those."

Supplying locally sourced potatoes was a long-term win as concerns over food miles and carbon footprints grew, he said, adding that JRC had commissioned research to identify what consumers want from potatoes.

Binnet also unveiled plans for the launch of the first Jersey Royal branded product to hit the market, to be rolled out at the ­beginning of this year's Jersey Royal potato season in April.

Although packs of Jersey Royal potatoes sold in supermarkets carry the EU Protected Designation of Origin mark and a second logo showing they are Jersey potatoes, they are currently all sold under retailer own labels.

JRC purchased St Nicholas Court Farms through a company it set up called The Kent Potato Company, although St Nicholas Court Farms will remain its trading name.