Oils firm boosts capacity and jobs to meet demand

By Laurence Gibbons contact

- Last updated on GMT

New Britain Oils has invested £40M in its Liverpool site since 2010
New Britain Oils has invested £40M in its Liverpool site since 2010

Related tags: Palm oil

Palm oil producer New Britain Oils has boosted its bakery fats production capability by 30% in a bid to meet the “substantial increase” in demand for its products following changes to EU law and the horsemeat crisis.

The Liverpool-based firm has also created five new technician roles and one technical support position.

New Britain Oils has invested more than £40M since it opened Europe’s first fully dedicated palm oil refinery five years ago, it claimed.

Demand has increased by 50% year-on-year since opening as a result of changes to EU food labelling laws and UK retailers striving to meet their 2015 sustainability targets, its general manager Adam Thomas said.

Business growth

“There’s no doubt that demand from retailers and consumers for products containing certified sustainable palm oil has been a major contributor to our business growth,” ​he said. 

“This is no more so than in the bakery sector where we have seen the biggest growth in demand over the past 12 months.”

Changes to EU food labelling laws introduced in December 2014 requires that oils be declared by name rather than under the generic term ‘vegetable oil’ as was the case previously.

Major retailers, including Sainsbury which recently announced that 95% of palm oil used in its own-label products now comes from certified sustainable sources, have made pledges and commitments to consumers about their palm oil usage, Thomas said.

Horsemeat scandal

Thomas also attributed the rise in demand to increased emphasis on traceability and supply chains as a result of the 2013 horsemeat scandal.

“We believe it is important for manufacturers to know where their ingredients come from and, more importantly, that these have been produced responsibly and not at the expense of the environment, which is a concern many people have about palm oil,”​ he said.

“All of our palm comes from our own plantations and neighbouring smallholders in Papua New Guinea and is transported directly to our refinery in Liverpool.”

Thomas said New Britain Oils offered customers absolute traceability as well as reassurance that the palm in its products had been produced to the highest standards, not at the expense of tropical rainforests.

Related topics: Fats & oils

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