Reaseheath College aids small food businesses

By Freddie Dawson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Hazard analysis and critical control points, New product development

Pudding potential: Reaseheath’s new Food Innovation Centre aims to help SME food businesses such as the Pudding Compartment
Pudding potential: Reaseheath’s new Food Innovation Centre aims to help SME food businesses such as the Pudding Compartment
A small-scale bakery manufacturer will be the latest to use Reaseheath’s new Food Innovation Centre as a springboard to further growth.

The Pudding Compartment, a manufacturer of puddings, cakes and cheesecakes, will soon move into one of the Innovation Centre’s food processing and manufacturing halls. It plans to use the space to make extra product leading up to Christmas and the New Year.

The Innovation Centre provides an invaluable service to small manufacturers – allowing them to expand without having to make a major capital investment, Steve West, co-owner of the Pudding Compartment, told FoodManufacture.co.uk.

He said: “It is very difficult to find premises that are properly accredited. The college is providing a very good service to businesses and the initiative ​[behind the service] is great. We’re a responding business and we can use the service till we take the next step ourselves.”

Reaseheath

The Centre contains two halls, which can be used by a range of national and regional businesses for new product development and trials. As part of the food department at the college, manufacturers can hire equipment and quickly set up a production line. “It’s great for businesses that started out at home in a kitchen and want to move up and test the market,”​Derek Allen, food commercial manager at Reaseheath College, told FoodManufacture.co.uk.

Not only will the Pudding Compartment benefit from the extra space for manufacturing, it can use other facilities such as the college’s departments to solve technical problems, West added. Reaseheath can help manufacturers with product development, packaging, labelling, testing, shelf-life and planning hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP), he said.

Development

The college hopes that the centre will be used by a wide range of manufacturers and is already in talks with a company about producing ready meals.

Reaseheath opened the centre in September to coincide with the start of the school year.

The centre cost about £7.8M – of which £2M was sourced from the Northwest Development Agency. £1.5M of that was in order “to provide an incubation agency to allow food manufacturers to grow",​ Allen said.

The remaining funding came from the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) as well as industry bodies. Geoff Russell, chief executive of the Skills Funding Agency, said: “This new centre is an excellent facility – first class environment where employers can confidently invest in the skills of their workforce and develop their businesses.”

The Pudding Compartment will join healthy fast food firm Ada and Richard, which is already working from Reaseheath College.

Related topics: Bakery

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