That’s according to md Peter Tichbon, who drove EDME’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation up by 50% last year and a further 55% for the first quarter of this year.
Tichbon, an ex-Allied Bakeries business development director, secured £1.2M of investment for the site this year, following a £1.4M investment in 2014, he told FoodManufacture.co.uk.
“The biggest chunk of investment this year will be on a brand new mixing plant, which should be up and running in November,” Tichbon said.
The new high-speed mixing plant will handle 90% of the Mistley, Essex, site’s mix volume, which is about 10,000t a year, he added.
‘Six tonnes an hour’
“It can process six tonnes an hour and is more modern than our existing three mixing plants,” he said.
Four roles would be lost as a result of the investment, however, the staff had already been made aware, Tichbon said.
“We’re reducing headcount by four. We’ve told the staff and two people have already left and we’re carrying one vacancy and we’re hopeful that we won’t have to lose another member.”
EDME, which is part of the £120M turnover Crisp Malting Group, would retain its existing mixing plants to ensure it could meet any future rise in demand, he added.
One of the existing mixing units would also be converted into a gluten-free plant, would be housed in a soon-to-be built area of the site and would cost a further £75,000, Tichbon said.
A new gluten-free dedicated milling plant was installed at the site late last year and could produce 1Mt of gluten-free flour an hour, according to technical director Simon Wooster.
‘Very fine gluten-free powders’
“The gluten-free mill is no ordinary mill either,” he claimed. “It’s not just grinding grains into a powder, but it has very fine milling tolerances for producing fine flours ideal for batters.”
Batter, gravy mixes and gluten-free products are a few of the areas EDME would focus on in the future, said Tichbon.
“EDME is 95% bakery-focused and the bread market has been declining by around 2% year-on-year, since the end of World War Two,” he explained.
“Consumers are changing their eating habits and it’s important that companies [such as ours] respond to that.
“For us, beyond bread is a huge focus of our sales effort – we’re looking at batters, gravies and other things like that.”
The site was also working on some novel wholegrain products, which could be used in breads and other items to add texture. The grains would be softened using a process developed by EDME to ensure they weren’t too hard, he added.