Flora cooking oil producer pumps £24m into factory

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

The investment has partly been earmarked for a new production line and palletising solution
The investment has partly been earmarked for a new production line and palletising solution

Related tags Finance Ambient factory design & Maintenance Packaging & labelling

Edible Oils Limited (EOL) is investing £24m at its Erith factory, which produces more than 100 million litres of cooking oil annually, under Crisp ‘n’ Dry, Flora and Mazola Corn Oil brands and retail own-label.

The strategic development programme is significantly upgrading vital infrastructure across the site, boosting production capacity and capabilities, and enhancing efficiency to support the business’ ambitious growth plans. Following planning permission approval, construction work for the project has now begun. 

As a result of the works, EOL said it would be able to increase its production capacity by around 50% at the Kent site, reduce its carbon footprint and introduce new packaging formats across its product range. 

EOL, a 50/50 joint venture between Princes and Archer Daniels Midland is the UK’s largest producer of packaged oils for the retail sector, supplying more than half of the UK’s customer own brand and branded seed oil volume.

Cooking oil hub

The Erith site forms the hub of EOL’s cooking oil production and is one of the largest employers in the area. Its operations support a number of regional jobs in businesses and industries that provide raw materials and services. 

“We are thrilled to be in position to progress with our ambitious plans for our Erith site, which are a major part of our commitment to UK manufacturing and providing long-term, high quality employment opportunities in the area,”​ said Kim Matthews, commercial director at EOL.

“We have overcome some significant challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to reach this point, and we are now ready to deliver state of the art equipment, better energy efficiency and increased production capabilities.”​ 

Production line and palletising solution

The core investment project at Erith is set to continue over a two-year period, during which the factory will remain fully operational. As part of the project, a new production line and palletising solution will be installed and commissioned.

The works will also involve the construction of a fully enclosed warehouse, a staff car park with extensive electric vehicle charging capabilities, and the development of an expanded dry goods warehouse. 

The Erith site is fully integrated with an adjacent refinery complex – one of the largest seed oil crushing and refining establishments in Europe. The site also packs own-label corn, rapeseed and sunflower oils.

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