Entirely fuelled by sustainable renewable energy, the factory, in Driffield, East Riding of Yorkshire, will be one of the UK’s first carbon-neutral food factories when it opens in 2018, d’Arta said.
Trading under the name Yorkshire Greens, the site will process peas grown in the region by the 40-strong farming co-operative Swaythorpe Growers, which retails its peas under the brand Yorkshire Peas.
GWE Biogas will provide all the power and heat for the new facility from unavoidable food waste, including vegetable waste produced by the plant through anaerobic digestion.
Swaythorpe Growers said it would continue to supply peas to processor JE Hartley, based near York, under existing terms.
Investing in sustainable agriculture
D’Arta has had a long history of investing in sustainable agriculture, and the Yorkshire Greens plant combined the three principles of its sustainability policy – planet, people and product – d’Arta UK manager Ian Keyes said.
“Building a zero-carbon processing facility is right for our business and right for the environment, and we look forward to working with our innovative and entrepreneurial Yorkshire partners,” he added.
Tom Megginson, director of GWE Biogas, said: “The Yorkshire Greens plant has potential to be one of the most cutting-edge food businesses in Britain.
“Our investment in sustainable renewable energy will make this plant one of the most efficient processors in the country. It’s a genuinely game-changing business in the industry.”
‘Exciting and ambitious project’
Tim Rymer, chairman of Swaythorpe Growers, added: “This is an exciting and ambitious project that will reduce the carbon footprint of our Yorkshire-grown frozen peas as well as dramatically reducing food miles, as the facility is in the heart of our growing area.
“This means we’ll reduce the travel time from field to factory even further, ensuring a better product for customers.”
“As farmers, we respect and understand the importance of looking after the land, so building a factory fuelled entirely on unavoidable food waste makes a great deal of common sense.”
Launched in 2010, the Yorkshire Pea brand is sold in Tesco and Booths, as well as a number of independent retailers.