Kettle Brand Makes GBP2.7m Investment to Expand Norfolk Factory
The Kettle Brand is expanding its presence in Norwich, the UK with a GBP2.7m investment to expand its potato processing factory in the area, writes EDP24.
The company – which is an international manufacturer of chips and other snacks, is based in Salem, Oregon with European and Middle East headquarters in Norwich, UK – has been making chips in the region for over 30 years, with the majority of its potatoes grown within 30 miles of the factory.
The new intake and grading building at the firm’s Bowthrope headquarters is expected to handle 63,000 tons of Norfolk-grown potatoes in the next 12 months – but it has the capacity to process 120,000 tons per year, opening the door for future expansion.
The expansion area is said to include a trailer bay able to unload eight bulk lorries, a grader to remove stones, soil and under-size potatoes, a barrel washer, a “halver” to chop large potatoes to the correct size, and an optical separator which can identify and remove unwanted foreign objects by using three cameras, taking as many as 40 images of every item passing through conveyors, to assess their color and density.
“The building has given us the capacity to go north of 120,000 tones a year. Until now limitation to our growth was our intake, but that is no longer the case. We have freed up from for expansion within the factory,” explained Dan Hewitt, Kettle’s head of agriculture.
Finally, the company is also going to install a state-of-the-art X-ray machine to extract any dangers hidden from the cameras, ensuring that nothing but premium potatoes are transported via a water flume system to the cooking rooms.
“We are celebrating our 30th birthday this year so this is a really fitting milestone for us to be opening a building which will set us up for the next 30 years,” said Ashley Hicks, managing director at Kettle Foods.
Of the project cost, GBP1.7m is being funded by Kettle Foods with the support of parent company, Campbell’s, and GBP1m has been grant-funded through the Growth Program of the Rural Development Program for England, provided by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
In related news, a recent report claimed that Campbell’s was pondering selling the Kettle Brand, or at least its UK arm.