New investment raised
Private equity firm Exponent made a strategic investment in the business at the start of August, which made it possible for the site to be developed. Meadow Foods acquired the facility in 2009 as a place for its fresh ingredients division. More than 85,000t of cream, yoghurt, and crème fraiche are manufactured here, some of it destined for foodservice and some to be put into further processing.
The new cash injection from Exponent has enabled the company to purchase a parcel of land which was adjacent to their current holdings. This means they have doubled their acreage from a previous 2.5 acres to current 5 acres – or 2 hectares.
The company will now be able to boost capacity by more than 50%, which explains why so many new production and manufacturing jobs have been created in one fell swoop. They will also be developing new lines and increasing their current product capabilities. They have already announced the addition of a customer innovation centre to help improve the quality of their output, as well as upgrades to their current employee facilities.
“The expansion of our factory at Peterborough is a key part of our strategic growth plans,” said Mark Chantler, the Chief Executive Officer of Meadow Foods. “We have doubled our sales volumes at Peterborough in the last five years and have added to our product range with the addition of fresh custards. This development is essential to meet demand and allow us to increase our product lines and capabilities. Bringing new investment and jobs to the area is also illustrative of our commitment to the region and the product range we make there.”
Previous work carried out
£3 million had already been invested into the site last year in order to automate a larger percentage of the plant, increase the overall capacity, and improve the efficiency and quality of their production processes. The scale of the investments can be explained easily by the scale of the company: Meadow Foods is the largest independently-owned dairy group in the UK and is also the leading supplier of milk-based dairy ingredients to the UK’s food industry.
They currently manage more than 650 million litres of milk each year. These come directly to their sites from more than 650 farmer suppliers, based across North England, the Midlands, and North and West Wales. Their main factory sites are in Peterborough, Chester, and Holme-on-Spalding Moor.
Having been founded in 1992, the company has swiftly grown to a dominant market position. They employ more than 300 people in various food jobs at current count, though that will now surely rise to at least around 350. It looks as though the company is going from strength to strength, and with their production based wholly inside the UK, they have no reason to particularly fear the upcoming upheaval of Brexit.
They also don’t seem to be pushed to hesitate by the growing interest within the UK market for non-dairy alternative foods, whether from a health perspective or in search of vegan options which do not require animal farming. Plant milks and plant-based creams have rising in popularity by a huge proportion over recent years.