Plant Food Bases

Source: Plant Food Bases 

The new business is a partnership between grain trader Robin Appel and drinks processor and packer Framptons

Hampshire-based grain and legume trader Robin Appel has partnered with beverage processor and co-packer Framptons to form a new joint venture called Plant Food Bases.

The new business has won £3.5m in investment from its two parents and will make plant-based drinks in the UK with “low food miles” from a new production facility based on the Framptons factory site in Somerset.

PFB said the JV allowed for the production of drinks locally in the UK via a fully-traceable vertically integrated business model “from seed to shelf”, with Robin Appel supplying the raw ingredients that were then processed at the new facility – which has a 40m litre a year production capacity.

The plant has recently started manufacturing liquid oat drink bases designed to be used in a variety of oat drinks for its customers. 

PFB added it also had plans to produce semi-solid products from the third quarter of 2022 – such as yoghurt alternatives and sauces – while it also aimed to move to other feedstocks such as pea protein and fava bean in the future.

The company’s customer base included food service operators, supermarket own label suppliers, specialist coffee shops and caterers.

“The need to provide sustainable products, gained from local resources is now more relevant than ever for those involved in the food industry,” said PFB director Will Martin, who pointed out the recent growth in dairy alternatives had been largely driven by imports – either in the form of pre-packed goods, in bulk blends or as syrups.

“The concept for PFB was to bring the commercial and employment benefits of production, processing and packing back onshore,” he added.

“The advent of Brexit makes our offer even more attractive as the uncertainties of long supply chains and import inspection and paperwork can be replaced by UK production and packing.”

The demand for drinks and semi-solid products derived from grains and pulses was growing exponentially, he said.

“Oat based drinks, for example, have moved from being a specialist interest to the mainstream and the market is still expanding.”

The new PFB business “married the agricultural and procurement expertise of Robin Appel with the extensive processing and packing capabilities of Framptons”, Martin added.

“The result is a modern and fully-certified UK facility for the production of liquid plant-based extracts. With the extraction plant installed on the Framptons site the carbon footprint has been minimised whilst still offering the full gamut of product development, formulation and packaging options for brands, retail, ingredient buyers and food service.”