The ‘bakery centre of excellence’ came at a time of cuts across the industry and indicated significant ambition, according to the sweet product maker.
It is part of a restructure that has resulted in the closure of production sites in Fareham and Portchester, also both in Hampshire, and a third site – in Hartlebury, Worcestershire.
The business completed a consultation process with staff last autumn. At the time, it pledged to continue to support all staff members over the course of the restructuring process and transition.
Six automated production lines
The new 13-acre factory has six automated production lines, including a dedicated ‘smart’ line for smaller batches of artisan products. This is designed to allow large-scale production of high-quality craft bakery items.
Managing director David Hunt has described the new facility as a step forward, while still retaining “the ability to innovate and hand-finish as required”. He pointed to the inclusion of a new “customer solutions centre” at the site, which he said would allow clients to work with the company’s team and was part of his commitment to “put customers at the heart of the manufacturing process”.
Three senior staff
On top of the substantial spend on the new site, Rich’s has also recruited three senior staff to help build its marketing and commercial profile. John Want, who has almost 20 years’ experience in brand marketing, has joined the firm as marketing director.
He is joined by Hazel Tomkins, who is now insight and innovation director. Tomkins has previously held similar roles with Mars, Burger King and Schwan’s. The final addition was John Moore, who joined as commercial director after stints at PepsiCo and Bacardi.
Hunt heralded the new additions as “bringing the best talent into Rich UK” and said he hoped the investment would “accelerate business growth out of Andover and beyond”.