Saxon md Andrew Hayes told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “The grant will provide more jobs in Scunthorpe for factory operatives and managerial staff.”
The funding comes from the government’s £2.4bn Regional Growth Fund (RGF), which is designed to create jobs and training opportunities for young people.
North Lincolnshire Council has been awarded £10M as part of the scheme and Saxon was one of the companies to benefit.
Hayes said: “They are passing it on to businesses who can prove they can provide more employment for local people.”
Hayes said the recruitment process would start in January and continue throughout 2013.
The firm supplies frozen root vegetables in a variety of sizes and formats to manufacturers of party food and ready meals. Products include potato skins, baked potatoes, wedges, roast potatoes and mash. These are sold to foodservice operators and major retailers, including Tesco, Sainsbury and Marks & Spencer.
“Our existing product lines are doing really well,” said Hayes. “We make interesting products for more informal dining. It’s worked really well over the summer with the Jubilee and the Olympics and we’re building up for Christmas now.”
Hayes said it was too early to divulge whether he would be developing new product lines.
In addition to boosting production, the grant will be used to upgrade equipment at the Scunthorpe factory to meet the increasingly demanding requirements of the latest food safety standards. One of these was the BRC Global Standards: a global product safety and quality certification programme.
“The BRC is becoming tighter and harder,” said Hayes. “We have to upgrade our facilities, as these are standards required by our customer base.”
Modernising the site will also help Saxon make some efficiency improvements, which should help to soften the impact of rising of raw material costs.
“We’re very positive about the future,” said Hayes. “But the one concern we do have is potato pricing because costs have risen as a result of the bad weather. We have had to pass on some of these price increases, but we’re also looking at increasing our efficiency to ease this pressure.”