Daniels Chilled Foods (DCF) has opened what it claims is one of the UK's most advanced fresh juice factory in Headcorn, Kent.
The £6m investment will create 70 new jobs, boosting DCF's workforce in Headcorn to over 100. The new site, which has just been audited by the British Retail Consortium, has a new fruit processing facility, which is said to be the largest of its kind in the UK, and features novel blending facilities.
The site will produce a wide range of fresh juice drinks for the Daniels Chilled Foods-owned New Covent Garden and Johnson's brands, and for retail, catering and foodservice customers.
Annual production capacity of more than 210m packs will range from 250ml, 330ml, 500ml, one litre, 2.2l and 3.4l size bottles. Over 1mt of fresh fruit will be used every week.
The site also has the capacity to pack bulk in pallecons of up to 500kg.Chief executive Rob Burnett said: "We are maintaining record levels of investment in our drive to achieve the highest organic growth of any UK chilled food manufacturer over the next five years."
DCF bought the 4.5 acre Headcorn site seven years ago, originally to produce food ingredients. Expansion of the site has resulted in the development of an added value drinks facility, supplying a range of smoothies and blended drinks for the retail and catering sectors.
The investment at Headcorn forms part of a record £14m investment by DCF across its three UK manufacturing sites. More than £4m has been invested at a purpose-built prepared fruit factory in Leeds and £3m has been invested at Peterborough, home to New Covent Garden fresh soups.