Award winner Raynor Foods: model could inspire others

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Fresh produce

Raynor Foods could be a model for other food firms with its on-site hydroponic vertical farm supplying its factory, claimed executive chairman Matt Raynor after winning Food Manufacture’s top award.

Describing the origins and benefits of Rosemary Gardens, the hydroponic farm that had reduced food miles and impressed the Food Manufacture​ Excellence Awards judges, Raynor said: “What it gives us is control. It’s hyper-local. The produce that we grow in Rosemary Gardens has to travel less than 50 metres over the road and end up straight in our sandwiches.

“The food that we grow at Rosemary Gardens is fresher than fresh. Literally within an hour of being picked, the produce is in the sandwiches and in 24 hours sitting on the shelf.

Cut down on chlorination

“In addition to that we’re able to massively cut down on chlorination and cleaning the produce because we grow it in a high-care environment. It also makes a fabulous centrepiece for anybody that pops into the factory and wants to see how we do it.”

Asked whether he saw that as a model for food manufacturing in the future, Raynor said: “I think it has to be.”

Raynor shared his surprise after the company was named the Food Manufacture​ Company of the Year at the Food Manufacture​ Excellence Awards 2020 on 13 February.

The sandwich business took home five awards, including Chilled, Fresh & Dairy Manufacturing Company of the Year, The Food Technology Partnership Award and Small Manufacturing Company of the Year. Raynor Foods’ employee Karina Glusczyk was highly commended in the Apprentice of the Year category. Among the projects she worked on, she contributed heavily to the development of Rosemary Gardens.

In this exclusive video interview, filmed on awards night at the London Marriott Hotel, Raynor said he was completely bowled over with his company’s success on the night.

‘Crazy ideas’

“We’ve come up with some mad and crazy ideas – in fact we’re known for the mad and crazy ideas – and to be recognised for this is fabulous validation that, actually, we might be a bit mad and crazy, but we also really know what we are doing,”​ said Raynor.

“I’d like to extend a really big thank you to all the judges and the people that have made tonight the fabulous night it has been.”

He also described the manufacturer’s successful partnership with the National Health Service and the great strides it has taken to launch food produced according to high food safety standards.

“We pride ourselves on producing a very safe product, but I wouldn’t like to be complacent in that,”​ he added.

“We put a lot of money and a lot of energy into our technical department to keep those standards very high and it’s lovely that Karina’s hard work was acknowledged this evening as apprentice of the year as well.”

This year’s awards were sponsored by Dawn Foods, Fowler Welch, Menzies, Michael Page, LI Europe and Systems Integration. Associated sponsors were Markel, Circle Select and KDH.

Related topics: Chilled foods, People & Skills

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