The programme, airing tomorrow night (August 1), will chronicle the process of creating McVitie’s Chocolate Digestives – from the Manchester refinery where the chocolate is made to the final biscuit at its factory in Harlesden, London.
Presenters Gregg Wallace and Cherry Healey will explore the history of the factory, which produces 80M biscuits each day – reportedly the largest biscuit factory in Europe.
Manufacturing manager at Pladis’s London site Fraser Jones said: “The Harlesden factory was built in 1902 and although still in the original building, the technology inside has changed dramatically over the last 115 years, which has given us the ability to make more biscuits for the UK and around the world.
‘Traditional baking techniques’
“Despite all the new technology, you might be surprised by how much we still use ‘traditional’ baking techniques and the recipes for all our well-loved classics all remain the same of course.”
Inside the Factory also documents the 200-mile journey the chocolate takes from Manchester to London to be spread on McVitie’s biscuits, at a cost of £2,000 a tonne.
Fraser explained: “The trucks have specially heated tankers which keep the chocolate warm and constantly moving.
“We do this transit at night to ensure the trucks don’t get caught in any traffic – if the chocolate was delayed for any reason we wouldn’t have delicious warm, runny chocolate for our biscuits.”
‘Chocolate for our biscuits’
Pladis is the third company to feature on the latest series of Inside the Factory, following tea producer Typhoo and Italian dried pasta manufacturer Barilla.
Last year also saw Kellogg’s Manchester factory and Heinz’s baked beans production facility featured on the programme.
Meanwhile, explore inside Seabrook Crisps’s Bradford factory through a selection of pictures taken during Food Manufacture’s Me and My Factory interview with chief operating officer Daniel Woodwards.
Pladis’s Harlesden factory – at a glance
- Harlesden is the “largest biscuit factory in Europe” with 580 staff
- 80M biscuits are baked in the factory every day (2,500 tonnes of biscuits every week)
- Makes 22 different varieties, including Hobnobs, Rich Teas and Mini Cheddars
2 of floor space
- The factory has been making Chocolate Digestives since 1925
- The chocolate is prepared 200 miles away at a refinery in Manchester
- Longest serving employee has served 50 years