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Vegetable processor plans to build new £2M facility

By Lorraine Mullaney , 03-Dec-2012
Last updated the 03-Dec-2012 at 11:33 GMT

Alfred G Pearce plans to build a £2M vegetable processing plant that will create 25 jobs
Alfred G Pearce plans to build a £2M vegetable processing plant that will create 25 jobs

A family-run vegetable processor has ambitious plans to build a £2M vegetable processing plant that will lead to the creation of 25 jobs in Norfolk.

Alfred G Pearce supplies root vegetables to major food manufacturers such as Bakkavör.

A spokesman for the processor said the new facility would help the company to meet its customers’ increased demand for pre-prepared vegetables.

The new outlet at Mill Farm, Shouldham Thorpe, will be used to wash and grade vegetables such as carrots, parsnips and onions.

The company is currently outsourcing its grading and washing because there is insufficient space at its current site in Setchey.

Alfred G Pearce submitted a planning application to West Norfolk Council for new vegetable processing facility last month (November 14).

A spokeswoman for West Norfolk Council told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “An application has been submitted for permission to demolish two agricultural units to allow for the development of a new vegetable washing and grading facility with associated offices, service year, car park and soft landscaping.”

'Improve operational efficiency'

In a statement submitted to West Norfolk Council, planners said: “To improve operational efficiency and meet growing demand from customers, the company wishes to transfer these operations to a more appropriate location in the vicinity of its existing plant and the company’s head offices.”

The target for the council’s decision on the application is February 13.

Alfred G Pearce supplies both unwashed and prepared produce to the food manufacturing sector in the UK and Europe.

Vegetables are used to supply manufacturers of ready meals, soups, salads, crisps and snacks. They are also supplied to the foodservice sector.

'Increased demand'

Vegetables can be supplied fresh from the field but customers have increased demand for primary-processed vegetables that have been washed, graded and trimmed.

Its founder came from a farming family and started growing vegetables for processing in the 1960s. Its annual crops cover 350 acres of carrot, parsnip, onion and rhubarb.

Create 30 jobs

If planning permission is granted for the new site, building work is expected to start in spring 2014. The construction would create up to 30 jobs.

In August this year (August 21), potato product manufacturer Saxon Quality Foods  reported increased demand for its frozen root vegetables. It supplies manufacturers of party food and ready meals with products such as potato skins, baked potatoes, wedges, roast potatoes and mash. It also sells to foodservice operators and major retailers, including Tesco, Sainsbury and Marks & Spencer.

Saxon md Andrew Hayes received a £112,000 grant to create 25 new jobs to meet demand for growth. He said: “Our existing product lines are doing really well. We’re very positive about the future.”

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