Cranswick has started production at its new £27m continental foods plant in Bury, Greater Manchester.
The site, which will supply into categories including continental meats, olives and antipasti, employs 465 staff and replaces two smaller facilities at Trafford Park in Manchester.
Production at the plant started last week, and would help the meat giant mitigate against Brexit uncertainty over meat imports, said Cranswick group commercial director Jim Brisby. “Slicing and processing products in the UK will help the business to manage that risk and minimise the potential impact of changes to tariffs,” he said, while also reducing the number of lorries on the road by delivering in bulk feedstocks rather than packs containing fresh air.
The supplier’s continental categories were growing at about 10% year on year and there was “still significant headroom for growth through attracting new shoppers to the category”, he added.
“To achieve this, innovation needs to be targeted at making the products relevant and accessible to the UK consumer; we need to remove the barriers of the products seeming foreign and unfamiliar,” Brisby said.
“Processing continental products in the UK allows us to tailor products and ranges to meet the specific requirements of the UK consumer, for example we can pack together charcuterie, cheese and olives from across different countries to deliver the best selection in terms of flavour and texture.”
The Bury plant - which has been designed to be sustainable throughout, and contains low emission refrigeration and LED lighting - can also tailor flavours and marinades used with olives and other vegetables to create recipes that appeal to the UK palate, Brisby added.
“With over 20 years’ experience in slicing charcuterie we have the expertise and knowledge to handle the delicate hams and salamis from the continent, which is critical to delivering the best eating experience,” he said. “Through our relationships with producers across the continent we have access to a diverse range of speciality products which we want to help the UK consumer discover.”
It comes as Cranswick this week announced the launch of a new initiative to reduce food waste and tackle food poverty in its home town of Hull, titled the Hull Food Save Project.
The project, launched in partnership with food sharing app Olio, Hull Food Bank and social enterprise Full Food will see Cranswick sponsor a full-time Olio community market maker, who will recruit participating partners and help create a wider Hull food sharing social network.
The supplier will also donate a freezer to Full Food and Hull Food Bank and supply them with a weekly fresh meat donation on an ongoing basis; and support a series of community projects, which will include an emphasis on healthy eating, food skills, cooking lessons and breakfast clubs across the city.
“We’ve invested in this project because it is Cranswick’s aim to join the Hull community together to tackle the local food waste issue in a way that solves the problem at its core,” said Cranswick chief operating officer Chris Aldersley.
“We’ve listened to the feedback from our employees and we know food waste is an issue close to their hearts, so by actively tackling Hull’s hunger issue head on, it is our hope, as a business and as a community, that we make a difference where it matters most,” he added. “We would love the Hull Food Save Project to serve as a model for tackling food waste nationwide.”.