Finsbury said the investment had gone towards the installation of a new doughball plant and freezer capability, including a new freezer, feeding system, product conveyors, check weigher, new metal detector and hand-packing station. Structural improvements have also been made to the building fabric including a replacement of the floor area and installation of energy efficient LED lighting.
The company said the spend would increase capacity at the site by 30%. Alongside the increased manufacturing capability, it is also predicted that less downtime and product wastage would be incurred.
Jon Cooper, business unit director at Finsbury Food Group, commented: “With much of Kara’s customer base closing during the lockdown the past few months have been a challenging period both for Kara and the Finsbury Food Group. It did, however, provide us with the perfect time to completely install and commission the new plant.
'Less manual handling'
"This installation protects and significantly increases our manufacturing capacity and importantly brings about less manual handling. We have already seen improved product quality and consistency.
“This investment has come at an important time. Doughballs have been identified as an increasingly important range within our product portfolio. We know that many foodservice operators and wholesalers are looking at menu shrinkage and switching to ingredients that offer multi-use. Our doughballs are sufficiently versatile to be used across all day parts and in a cross-section of dishes and cuisine types."
According to Finsbury Food Group, its Manchester site opened in 1985 as a burger-bun factory, and still produces frozen buns and rolls, as well as a range of teacakes and doughballs.
Kara also has a strong focus on new product research and development, based on changing trends and customer demand. The company now has more than 150 employees working in the highly automated facility.