Of the total investment £1.7m is being funded by Kettle Foods and almost £1m is being grant-funded through the Growth Programme of the Rural Development Programme for England, provided by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
The new project will see the relocation and upgrade of Kettle Foods’ entire potato reception process to a new building on spare land adjacent to the existing factory. This will mean that there will be almost no interruption to current manufacturing, the company said.
Kettle Foods owns the freehold of the Bowthorpe site and said it has “considerable space” available both for this development and further expansion in the future.
The project will see the introduction of a new intake and grading building that includes a bulk trailer bay suitable for housing eight articulated potato trailers. New potato grading equipment will be installed to remove soil, stones and small potatoes, along with a barrel washing machine that cleans the potatoes delivered to site.
A water flume system will then transport the checked and washed potatoes to the factory.
Sampling and lab services will be conducted in the new building by a team from the Kettle Growers Group.
Ashley Hicks, Kettle Foods managing director said: “30 years ago our founders set up home in Norfolk to be as close as possible to our potato farmers and we still love using locally grown potatoes today. This new intake facility will enable us to expand so that Norwich remains the home of Kettle Foods for many more years to come.”
Building work is expected to start this summer and be completed within 12 months.
Kettle employs around 450 people and is currently worth almost £100m at retail, and is available in the UK and over 25 countries internationally.
The company was purchased at the end of last year by Campbell’s.
This is the biggest investment since the site was expanded in 2011. The company has been processing potatoes in Norwich for 30 years and for 25 years at the current site in Bowthorpe.