The Spanish manufacturer, which operates sites in 50 countries including the UK, said the 5,109m2 facility would have the capability to provide the whole of the UK with freshly-squeezed juice.
Commenting on the new facility, fresh foods director Mike Bullock said: “There’s an exciting future in store for the site. Plant-based products are in huge demand and there is a gap in the market for a dairy-free factory producing fresh, quality products at scale.
“Freshly-squeezed juice is in double-digit growth in the UK compared to a relatively flat juice market and we can deliver in terms of consistency way better than ever before.”
Demand for healthier foods
Construction on the site began in February 2018 to help the company meet demand for healthier food options from its customers. To meet this demand, the bespoke plant can squeeze 960 oranges per minute, delivering 50% of the fruit weight as juice via six juice extractors.
Now fully operational, AMC has already secured Sainsbury’s as its first customer for freshly-squeezed juice, with production also now starting for a number of premium lemonades for upmarket retailer Waitrose’s Truly Scrumptious summer range.
As well as providing juice to large retailers and wholesalers, the site also produced dairy-free and allergen-free yoghurt for Rebel Kitchen and healthy, plant-based soups for brands including Bol.
Terry Haigh, managing director of the new factory, added: “Everything has been purpose-built so, not only do we have the latest technology for food manufacturing, we also have solar panels to provide a fifth of the site’s energy and we have a ‘zero to landfill’ commitment to environmentally responsible practices.”
All waste water at the site is recycled after particles are sieved out, while used fruit peels will be used for animal feed or fuel pellets.
Meanwhile, Mondelēz, the owner of brands Cadbury Dairy Milk, Green & Black’s and Oreo, has invested a further £4.7m in its Reading Science Centre, aiming to create 50 jobs there over five years.