The cash comes from a grant by Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP’s) Business Growth Programme. The funding would help create four new jobs at Seabrook’s Bradford factory, it said.
It had been spent on new machinery at the site, said Seabrook, which currently employs 150 staff and has invested a six-figure sum alongside the LEP grant. More jobs were on their way, it said, although it was difficult to say exactly how many at this point.
“The six-figure spend has allowed us to increase capacity by 40%,” marketing director Andrew Butterworth told FoodManufacture.co.uk. “There has been a heck of a lot of work in the past six months. We have been installing new lines and new machines.”
Butterworth said new equipment had been installed, which had allowed Seabrook to improve the consistency of product quality. “It has allowed us to run multiple lines and different fryers at the same time,” he added.
Unique product formats
In addition, Seabrook had consulted Urschel Laboratories to develop cutting machines that allowed it to produce unique product formats such as its lattice-cut crisps, which it launched in top supermarkets earlier this year.
New technology had also enabled it to launch pull and share bags for the lattice-cut products, with peel open front panels for consumers to share the crisps, aimed at foodservice and pub channels, said Butterworth.
More product development was on its way, he said, and Seabrook wanted to grow its presence in London and the south east of England. It wanted to expand its ranges in Waitrose and the Co-operative Group and continue to supply top supermarkets Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda and Morrisons, he claimed.
“The Business Growth Programme grant has helped us to continue with our growth push, freeing up investment and therefore the funding has been extremely beneficial,” added Butterworth.
Seabrook learned about the programme through Bradford Council and Butterworth added: “We would certainly encourage other organisations to see how the programme can assist them.”
Roger Marsh, chairman of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, said: “Seabrook is a long-established Bradford company and a really innovative business. We are delighted to have been able to assist in creating a number of new jobs in the region and helping the company to accelerate its expansion plans ensuring the food and drink sector in the region continues to thrive.”
Seabrook recently posted a turnaround in its fortunes in its latest set of accounts filed with Companies House. Having reported a £1.8M loss in 2012 and a loss of £430,000 in 2013, it boasted a post-tax profit of £1.3M in the year to the end of March 2014.