Alpro Kettering 1

Source: Alpro 

Capacity at the Kettering site is expected to grow to 400 million litres by next year

Alpro has completed work on a £17m upgrade of its Kettering site, with the installation of a new high-speed production line which has the capacity to process 300 million litres of soya, oat, rice and coconut drinks a year.

The Danone brand’s investment forms part of a £41m plan to increase production capacity at the factory during the past five years. Funding was also used to enhance its sustainability credentials and create new jobs in the local area, Alpro said. 

With further planned investment, the Kettering facility could increase its capacity to 400 million litres as early as 2022, the brand added.

It comes amid soaring demand for plant-based milk alternatives products, with Alpro’s grocery sales growing by £38.4m to £261.6m last year, on volumes up 13% [NielsenIQ 52 w/e 26 December 2020].

As part of the latest development, which has created 25 jobs locally, a combined ‘trigeneration’ cooling, heat and power unit has been installed.

The equipment simultaneously generates electricity, heating and cooling from the combustion of gas, allowing the factory – which already runs on 100% renewable electricity – to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, the dairy alternatives giant said.

In addition, a new water treatment plant that reuses 218 m³ of water on-site every day – enough to fill more than an Olympic-sized swimming pool each week – has also been built.

“As the plant-based category leader, we’ve been blazing a trail in sustainable production for more than 40 years, and there’s no question this significant investment in our UK site is the latest example of that,” said Alpro general manager Sue Garfitt.

“The changes we are installing will not only accelerate the volume of products we are producing in the UK, for UK shoppers – but will also allow us to keep ahead of the curve and continue being the brand to fuel the category growth and whet the nation’s appetite for delicious and healthy plant-based products.”

Garfitt described Alpro as a “committed B Corp business” and said it had made “leaps and bounds” in developing its sustainability credentials across its product portfolio. This included “reducing our packaging usage and striving for 100% recyclable packaging and 100% plant-based or recycled materials by 2025”.