The manufacturer will use the recently reopened Kirkcaldy port to import wheat. This will secure flexibility of wheat supplies while reducing food road miles.
Duncan Monroe, md, Carr’s Flour Mills told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “In these volatile markets, it’s important to increase our options for wheat sourcing to maintain consistent quality. To match the expectations of our customers we need to be investing in the future.”
Carr’s supplies flour to major bread and biscuit manufacturers, supermarkets’ in-store bakeries and private bakery businesses.
In addition to milling locally grown soft milling wheat for shortbread, it imports bread wheat to meet demand dictated by market conditions. The port access is key to meeting this challenge.
Monroe said: “Direct port access means the mill is ideally situated to take advantage of sea freight. Moving wheat by sea gives us flexibility and reduces road miles.”
Kirkcaldy port reopened in September 2011 with the help of a freight facilities grant from the Scottish government.
It had lain dormant for 20 years.
Forth Ports was reported to have invested funds in dredging the port and upgrading its facilities to modern standards.
This has enabled Carr’s to bring wheat directly to the mill by ship.
Flexibility of raw materials supply is critical for the business as unseasonable weather across the globe has made wheat prices volatile.
“Last year we shipped a significant quantity of home-grown bread wheat from the South of England,” said Monroe. “But next year, if poor weather continues in the UK, we might be bringing in high-quality German bread wheat from the Baltic ports.”
A further benefit of using sea freight is that it will take more lorries off the road.
The new factory will incorporate “all of the best practice regarding food safety and ease of cleaning”, Monroe said.
New equipment will enable the firm to meet stringent food safety standards.
“The mill that’s there at the moment is getting to the end of its natural life,” said Monroe. “To match our customers’ expectations we need to be investing in the future.”
The mill will be completed in September 2013.
The investment came from the parent company Carr’s Milling and a Regional Selective Assistance grant from the Scottish Enterprise.
“We’re thinking long-term here,” said Monroe. “Our business is over 175 years old and we plan to stick around for a lot more years to come.”