Alexir Chilled Packing does contract packing for some of the biggest names in the food industry, but two years ago it made the decision to branch out into manufacturing.

Sales and marketing director Dal Rapson says that the acquisition of Chiltern Herbs, the stuffing manufacturer, has been great for the main packing business.

“One of the reasons we acquired Chiltern Herbs was because as a contract packer your whole business is subject to ebbs and flows and you don’t have direct control,” he says. “Now we have long-term internal stability and because we are packing our own products, other manufacturers will be willing to trust us with theirs.”

The company already packs for Cadbury, Arla Foods, Tate & Lyle and Unilever, but Rapson says he has plans to grow the business further.

Rapson originally started out as a fairly successful professional musician, but when he realised, at the age of 23, that his big break wasn’t going to happen, he joined an engineering company and became a purchasing manager.

From there, he moved to the food industry and in 1996 joined Anchor Foods and used
Alexir for Anchor promotional packaging. He realised that there was a gap in that market and joined Alexir Chilled Packing to expand the services range and develop the Chiltern Herbs business.

“When we acquired Chiltern Herbs its stuffing had been around for 30 years but had never been promoted,” says Rapson. “As a packaging company the first move was to make a quick interim change to the pack to bring it up to date and we are now introducing new flavours.”

The next big project for Rapson is to bring a new packaging concept to the stuffing market. Instead of the standard bag in a box, where the mixture has to be used in one go, Alexir is developing a cardboard tube that can be opened and store the mixture.