The firm said the new facility, which provides 7500m2 of manufacturing space, will increase its capacity by 200%. It will allow NWF to increase its production of prepared fruit and salad meals, as well as a number of “high risk” products.
The factory will include new specialised temperature storage areas, which allow for precise handling of a wide variety of produce, according to the firm.
It will also include new chilling and processing techniques, alongside precise control of the factory environment. NWF claims this will help deliver a change in the quality and freshness it is able to deliver to the consumer.
Gary Kilhams, factory manager said: “The new site has transformed our fruit and salad meals processing abilities. The opportunities now available to innovate with both products and processes, is extremely exciting.”
Designed with the environment in mind, the factory roof has a special curve to blend into the skyline and surrounding landscape, and is silver in colour to reflect heat and reduce energy costs.
A special roof drainage system has also been created to capture rain water and channel it into neighbouring wildlife ponds, and, as with the factory, the office air-conditioning system also reclaims heat. The building also incorporates full height windows, which maximise natural light into the high care areas.
Richard Parr, operations director said: “We are very proud of our new Merston factory and believe we have created a unique facility that is both innovative, green, a great place for our people to work, and puts NWF at the forefront of fresh produce manufacturing.”