Faerch Plast acquired a 14,000m2 site on an industrial estate in Durham City, from where it will manufacture plastic food trays starting this summer.
“In the future, part of our sales in the UK market will be produced at the factory in Durham,” said ceo Lars Gade Hansen. “The products in question are primarily trays used for ready meals and fresh meat.”
In a company statement the packager said the move would improve its operating efficiencies and minimise environmental impact.
“This significant investment is part of Faerch Plast’s long-term strategy of being close to its customers, which means that, among other things, we can achieve a high-level of supply security,” said Gade Hansen
Faerch Plast controls a large part of the UK market for crystalline polyethylene terephthalate (CPET), a recyclable and opaque PET resin with a structure that makes it stable over a wide range of temperatures. It also provides a barrier against oxygen, water, carbon dioxide and nitrogen.
The plant will make CPET trays initially for sale in the UK, followed by polypropylene meat trays and Mapet II containers.
“This move means economic security,” said Gade Hansen. “Over the past four years we have witnessed a sharp fall in the exchange rate for the British pound against the Danish Krone. The insecurities this has created for us, as well as for our customers, will be reduced by manufacturing a large part of the plastic packaging in the UK.”
The packager has also acquired a plot adjacent to the factory to give it room for further expansion.
“We now have 30,000m2 of industrial site at our disposal in Durham,” said Gade Hansen. “This will allow for the possibility of further expansion as demand increases.
“In the longer term we hope to open a distribution centre opposite to service the factory.”
The site was formerly owned by Veriplast, a manufacturer of food and drink packaging. The former owner decided to end UK production and transfer its manufacturing to the Netherlands.
Local press has reported the news as a welcome boost for the area. It recently suffered the closure of the Kerry Foods site with the loss of 400 jobs. To read more about Kerry, click here .
But George Cain, of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers, claimed the new jobs won’t compensate for those lost at Kerry Foods.
Cain told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “Most of the jobs are for skilled people. And the company they bought the premises from has already put them in touch with some of its former workforce.”