Food manufacturing investments lead good news

By Laurence Gibbons

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags R&r ice cream Findus group Investment Food Firm

Food manufacturing investments and acquisitions dominate the headlines in the latest edition of Good week, Bad week – your sideways look at the past seven days in food and drink manufacturing.

Topping the list of firms making investments was meat alternative business Quorn Foods, which announced plans to invest £40M​ to support its global expansion strategy.

Quorn also called on the government to enhance existing tax breaks for research and development and innovation in next week’s budget. Tax incentives were a significant factor behind its decision to implement rapid growth plans, it said.

Alpro completed a £28.5M extension to its factory near Kettering and created 50 jobs. The investment will double capacity at the dairy alternative firm’s site from 75M litres to 150M​. The extra output will enable the firm to meet growing demand for its almond, hazelnut, soya, oat and coconut drinks. 

The firm’s commercial manager Sur Garfit told that health-conscious UK consumers were boosting Alpo sales by 25% a year.

The video pictures the minister of state for trade and investment Lord Livingston, wielding the golden scissors at the official opening. Watch out for your video interview with Alpro plant director Metin Fevzi-Hunt later this week.

£6M investment

Bakery firm Wrights Food Group also revealed a £6M investment​ a new donut and cookie factory near Crewe.

Completing our good news list of firms unveiling major investments was BrewDog, which received a £1.5M grant from the Scottish government to boost production and jobs at its Ellon plant in north east Scotland.

The spending will take total investment at the craft brewer to more than £20M and create an extra 130 jobs​.

Good news

• Investment: Quorn Foods, Alpro, Wrights and BrewDog

• Acquisitions by: R&R Ice Cream, Findus Group and HIG Capital

BrewDog had another reason to celebrate this week, after it was named one of the 1,000 most inspiring companies in the UK by the London Stock Exchange. That followed its appearance on The Sunday Times​ Fast Track 100, as the UK’s fastest growing food and drink company.

Food manufacturing acquisitions appeared too in our headlines with signifcant sales by Nestlé over the past week. Nestlé South Africa sold its ice cream busines​s to R&R Ice Cream, in a move that transferred the ownership of a modern manufacturing plant and 200 full-time employees, plus a network of 14 distributors.

Nestlé was again in the news with the sale of the Spanish frozen ready meal firm​ La Cocinera to the Findus Group. The deal will double the scale of the Findus Group’s operations in Spain, with the addition of the business, which has total retail sales of £46M.

Findus Food Group

Bad news

• Morrisons

• Karro Food Group

Finally, Adelie Foods was snapped up​ by HIG Capital. Ceo of the chilled food-to-go business Gavin Cox said management had been searching for a new investor for several months.

Leading this week’s bad news selection was Morrisons, which revealed its worst results for eight years. The beleaguered supermarket chain posted pre-tax profit down 52% to £345M for the full year to February 1 and axed 380 jobs​ with the closure of 23 convenience stores.

The business made a loss of £792M, which will leave new chief executive David Potts  with a full in tray when he starts work on Monday March 16.

The Karo Food Group also announced 141 job cuts​ at its Scunthorpe plant, after talks with workers, trade union representatives and local government.

North Lincolnshire Council Leader Liz Redfern pledged to help affected workers find new roles. “One job lost is one too many,” ​Redfern told 

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