We're always looking for new flavours and inclusions. We have launched cookies and cream, rhubarb crumble and white chocolate under the Kelly's brand. We have also launched three new flavours for Asda in 120ml tubs: fiery ginger, coconut & lime and salty caramel you can't taste the salt, but it brings out the flavour of the caramel. We supply Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury's own-label ice cream as well.
We launched a brandy butter flavour last Christmas that sold very well, so we will run it again this year. The flavour ideas come from R&R Ice Cream's headquarters in Yorkshire.
Kelly's was formed in the 1920s by the Kellistiko family from Italy. They moved production here in the early 1970s. R&R Ice Cream bought a 75% share of the business in 2008, increasing that to 100% in January 2010. That sent what was previously a local company nationwide in multiple retailers. That said, we still retain local staff so we are still seen as a local business.
I joined the business in December 2009 and I'm shortly going to move down here from Trowbridge in Somerset having been recruited by R&R specifically for this job. I had a history of managing sites not too dissimilar in size to this one and I had experience of building up brands.
Originally an engineer, I started working in the food industry in ice cream working with Lyons Maid. But I went on to spend most of my early career in soft drinks, working for Britvic, Wells Soft Drinks, and water brands Hildon and Ashe Park.
When Ashe Park closed I was offered a job with start-up firm Belu Water. 100% of its profits funded projects to provide water in Africa and India. They took me on for three years. I started as engineering manager and ended up as general manager there. I helped develop an ethical bottle made of corn starch, but once I had ensured everything was set up and working there I was out of a job.
The shift pattern was the first change I made here, introducing two shift streams from Tuesday to Friday consisting of one night shift and one day shift. The weekend is fenced off and we never plan to work then.
We currently have three production lines. There's one for one-litre tubs, one for one- and two-litre tubs, and one for our small range of 120ml-tubs and a range of catering sizes up to 10 litres. We are replacing the one-litre line with one that will double capacity and output, from 32 tubs a minute to 64. That means we can meet any demand that will hit us in the next few years.
There's lots of room for further growth, which is just as well as Kelly's is the fastest-growing ice cream brand in the south west, with sales increasing by 26% a year. We weren't anywhere near that a couple of years ago, but we have gone national since then. At the moment, if we went to a 24/7 operation and added the new filling line we could increase our production capacity by another 50%.
Two new mixing tanks have just been installed and we are looking to upgrade a third and possibly a fourth. They can contain 6,000l of throughput. We pump out about 750l an hour, so we are looking at getting a good eight hours of production out of them. The three together would last us 24 hours.
We have overhauled and cleared up our milk yard so we could improve milk deliveries. We get our milk from the nearby Trewithen Dairy, which is about five miles away. They used to drive it to us in a Landrover, but now we can accommodate two 30,000l tankers a day, from which we siphon off as much milk as we need.
The milk comes in already pasteurised. We also take deliveries of local butter and sugar. Samples are taken and tested and we also get test results from the dairy. We pump the milk through to the mixing and boiling vats. We heat the milk up, passing it through a homogeniser, then a pasteuriser and it's mixed with other ingredients according to strict recipes. We use 10% clotted cream for our clotted cream ice cream and we get through 1520t a week.
We then pump the mixture through to ageing vats to mature the mix, adding natural colours and flavours. It's then pumped through to freezers, where it is frozen and, from there, it is pumped onto the lines and extruded into tubs through fillers. These are packed onto pallets and sent for storage and distribution.
Over the past two years we have launched several environmental projects to save money. The main ones are cutting landfill tax payments by reusing as well as recycling waste; consolidating storage and distribution through Reed Boardall; and reducing trade effluent and energy costs.
Every year for the past three years we have also participated in the Clean Cornwall campaign. This means going around the coast and helping to clean up beaches. We have now been told by the Environment Agency that we are the only food and drink business in the UK to achieve a low-impact environmental permit. As far as we are concerned, that is a huge benefit. We have cut our total waste levels to no more than one tonne a day.
We donate money to charity quite a lot. Most schools in the area contact us for donations. They hold charity days and we always supply ice cream to sell, with the money going to charity.
Through the Alzheimer's Society we also back a local programme called Little Harbour, which offers the carers of Alzheimer's sufferers support and gives them time off.
One of the lecturers at Bodmin college set up a buying and selling project to teach business skills. We provide ice cream and they sell it and donate money to a charity of their choice. It teaches them how to sell and what they do with the money afterwards.
R&R is heavily involved in training. All our employees get food safety and hazard analysis critical control points (HACCP) training. We take team leaders through level three NVQs in HACCP and food safety.
We have also joined up with Duchy College and have eight people going through a three-year training course. It breaks down all the processes we go through, including dairy production and microbiology. It also involves management training.
We start every year by setting them a project. This year the project covers the installation of a new filling machine and how we use water.
In addition, we have two engineers who are going through electrical conversion training and they will end up as qualified electricians.
Location: Kelly's of Cornwall, 4 Lucknow Road, Bodmin, Cornwall, PL31 1EZ
Staff: 39 in the winter, flexing to 45 in the summer
Size: 4,734m2 for the total site, including production area of 650m2
Operating hours: One day- and one night-shift from Tuesday to Friday, with hygiene and cleaning on Mondays
Products: Ice cream, sorbets and frozen yogurt
Annual turnover: £13M
Name: Paul Harrold
Career highlights: "It was an achievement to take Belu Water from a start-up business to an established brand. I improved output, sales and quality at Ashe Park. At Wells Soft Drinks I successfully completed a factory move from Worcester to Northampton."
Domestics: "I am married, with two daughters and one son."
Outside work: "I have always liked music, but eight or nine years ago a friend who used to be a session guitarist asked me if I fancied setting up a mobile disco. We now appear at corporate events, weddings and birthdays. We also hold discos for Lostwithiel Rotary Club, with the money going to local charities."