Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last month, Cameron praised the convenience food firm Symington's for relocating its noodle production from China to Britain. “A recent survey of small and medium-sized businesses found that one-in-10 has brought back to Britain some production in the past year,” said Cameron. “The food manufacturer Symington’s is moving a factory from China to Leeds.”
A Symington’s spokesman said the firm had decided to repatriate its production of block noodles and ‘broken noodles’ used as an ingredient in noodle pots.
“Over the past five years, Symington’s has secured a strong position in branded noodle pots – including Golden Wonder and Naked Noodle – in the UK market, and in practically all UK supermarket own lines,” said a spokesman. “By producing its noodles in-house, Symington’s will shorten its supply chain – it currently takes between eight to 10 weeks to source noodles from China. This enables Symington’s to be more responsive to customer orders and deliver new promotions at short notice.”
Relocating production from China to Leeds would also help to ensure the security of the firm’s supply and security of production standards, he added.
As part of the relocation, a new noodle line has been installed in a new plant close to the company's main production site at Dartmouth Way. The £2.5M investment, which created about 50 jobs, will reach full capacity in the first quarter of this year, after first becoming operational in November 2013.
The line produces Golden Wonder, The Nation’s Noodle and the Naked Noodle brands.
Production was relocated from Symington’s’ two plants in China – one in Guangzhou province, in the south of the country, and one in Hangzhou, in the east.
Great place to invest
Cameron said Symington’s’ investment indicated Britain was a great place to invest. “Britain is open, innovative and creative – and frankly, ready for your investment,” he told the meeting in Davos.
“From food processing to fashion, and from cars to computer-makers, it’s not just one sector where this trend is emerging,” said Cameron. “It’s across all sectors of the economy.” Other firms praised were the model train manufacturer Hornby, which moved production from India, the computer company Raspberry Pi and ventilation firm Vent-Axia, which moved production from China to Crawley, West Sussex.
Meanwhile, Melanie Leech, director general of the Food and Drink Federation, used her speech at the HSBC Global Connections International Exchange conference to highlight the benefits of investing in the UK’s food industry.
“The exciting and fiercely competitive UK market is a superb environment within which to invest to build a great food manufacturing business.”