R&R Ice Cream plant in top five after £25M spend

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Digester Left to right: James Thompson – head of operations at Stokesley-based anaerobic digestion plant developer JFS Associates Ryad Apasa – head of operations at R&R Ice Cream’s Leeming Bar site.
Digester Left to right: James Thompson – head of operations at Stokesley-based anaerobic digestion plant developer JFS Associates Ryad Apasa – head of operations at R&R Ice Cream’s Leeming Bar site.

Related tags Ice cream Anaerobic digestion Sewage treatment Uk

R&R Ice Cream’s £25M investment at its Leeming Bar factory in North Yorkshire has boosted output by 20% and made the firm the globe’s third largest ice cream manufacturer.

The recent completion of the firm’s four-year investment plan has resulted in a factory equipment equipped with 22 production lines, making about 250M L of ice cream a year with a workforce of more than 500 at peak production times. 

R&R head of UK operations Ryad Apasa said ranked the ice cream plant alongside its global competitors. “This latest investment means the factory is now one of the five largest ice cream and lolly production facilities in the world.”

Manufacturing a wide range of ice cream, lollies and frozen yogurt, formats included: tubs, cones, bars, desserts, stick products and ice cream sandwiches. 

The branded products range spanned: Fab, Oreo, Smarties, Cadbury, Rowntrees and leading frozen yoghurt brand Yoomoo as well as own label products for all the UK’s leading retailers. 

‘Carbon footprint reduced’

Apasa also highlighted the firm’s environmental achievements: “I am equally delighted that – despite achieving a significant increase in production – changes we have made to the energy supply and treatment of effluent mean the site’s carbon footprint has actually reduced slightly to 0.26 tCO2e/t compared with 0.27 tCO2e/tonne previously.”

The business will continue to focus on sustainability and was investigating installing photovoltaic cells on the factory roof, he added. 

R&R Ice Cream has installed a new combined heating and power plant (CHP) to meet rising demand for power. After considering spending £1.5M on new cabling and upgrading a nearby sub-station, R&R decided to install the plant which is powered by natural gas.  When operational, the heat produced by the generator will be used to produce hot water for the site while the steam it will produce will be used for cleaning.

The CHP plant has led to significant savings in energy costs, with its £2M price tag being repaid in just over three years.

Savings in energy costs

Rising production has also meant that the capacity of the on-site effluent treatment plant has been increased from 600,000L to 1.5M litres per a day.  The plant uses reverse osmosis – where very high pressures of around 80 bar forces solution through a semi-permeable membrane.  Clean water passes through the membrane and is then re-cycled back to the factory while the waste is retained. 

From early next year about 30,000tonnes of this waste each year – two-thirds of the total – will be taken to a nearby anaerobic digester, owned by Leeming Biogas Ltd. The ice cream waste will be used to produce biomethane and fed directly into the local gas network, which, in turn, supplies R&R with gas for its CHP. The remaining waste will be used to enhance local agricultural land.

“Through using our skilled in-house engineering teams to adapt the existing production equipment, we can continue to advance the boundaries with new manufacturing techniques which ensure R&R’s reputation for innovation will continue,”​ said Ryad.

Related topics Dairy Dairy-based ingredients

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