Natures Way Foods boosts packaging capacity as demand soars

By Rod Addy contact

- Last updated on GMT

The GIC41000 is capable of packing up to 60 packs per minute
The GIC41000 is capable of packing up to 60 packs per minute

Related tags: Fresh produce, Technology & Automation, Finance

Prepared salads supplier Natures Way Foods has invested significantly in packaging machinery to keep pace with soaring demand from its retail customers.

The processor, which also supplies fresh food-to-go salad meals and side dishes such as coleslaw and potato salad counts all the top supermarket chains as part of its customer base.

It recently invested in 16 GIC41000 vertical form fill and seal Salad Specification machines, which GIC - the supplier of the equipment based in Gainsborough, Linconshire - has described as its largest-ever single order. 

The models feature a Leaf Salad Assisted Drop functionality, which is meant to speed up packing and reduce the chance of salad leaves being captured in seals, leading to contamination and downtime. They are also designed to allow food companies to cut their film use. The order takes the number of GIC machines in use at Natures Way Foods to 29.

'Minimal downtime'

Nathan Bennett, project manager for Natures Way Foods, said: "We have a very good relationship with GIC, and their machines are first class. They cut down on re-work of product, run faster than our previous machines and require very little maintenance, so there is minimal downtime, which is crucial to our operation. Our business is growing quickly, and we need to add additional lines to keep up with demand and forecasted increases."

Established by the Langmead brothers in 1994, Natures Way Foods has grown rapidly and today employs more than 1,200 across four manufacturing units. They are capable of producing more than 238m units and handling over 110,000t of finished product. 

The GIC41000 is capable of packing up to 60 packs per minute and accept all suitable heat sealable materials, including laminates and polyethylene. The machine features a 10-inch operator-friendly HMI colour touch screen, the latest specification Allen Bradley Servo Drives, has been fabricated in full stainless steel and comes with a high care kit.

First order in 2009

Andy Beal, GIC's managing director, said: "We are delighted to have received our largest ever order. Everyone at GIC works incredibly hard to make the best machines we can. When Natures Way Foods placed its first order with us back in 2009, we never thought we would go on to supply them 29 machines. Natures Way Foods is an incredible story, and we are extremely proud to know that we are playing a small part in their success."

Based in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, GIC was established more than 30 years ago, employs 25 people. It caters for customers in fresh and frozen produce, cereals, snacks, confectionery, pasta, powders and pulses, industrial hardware and liquids.

The company manufactures an extensive range of vertical bagmakers, producing a wide range of finished bag sizes from 150 to 600mm wide, in both intermittent and continuous motion variants.

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