Part of a £41m UK investment plan at the site, this latest investment comprised a new high-speed production line set to increase production capacity to 300m litres of soya, oat, rice and coconut drinks a year. Alpro plans to boost this up to 400m litres by early 2022.
The company has also installed a combined cooling, heat and power unit – CCHP or ‘trigeneration’. The unit simultaneously generates electricity, useful heating and cooling from the combustion of gas, reducing energy consumption at a plant that already uses 100% renewable electricity.
And the site boasts a new water treatment plant, that cuts water usage and results in 218 m3 of water being reused on site every day – enough to fill more than an Olympic sized swimming pool each week.
Investment in sustainability
Sue Garfitt, general manager for Alpro, said: “As the plant-based category leader, we have been blazing a trail in sustainable production for more than 40 years and there’s no question that this significant investment in our UK site is the latest example of that.
“The changes we are installing will not only accelerate the volume of products we are producing in the UK, for UK shoppers, but will also allow us to keep ahead of the curve and continue being the brand to fuel the category growth and whet the nation’s appetite for delicious and healthy plant-based products.
Alpro’s Kettering investment has created 25 new jobs at the factory, bolstering the already 200-plus strong workforce already on site, to help meet demand.
People were hired for a range of roles, including skilled operators and engineers. As plant director David Connor explained such staff could operate the highly automated machinery on site and could adapt for the rapid change in technology underway within manufacturing.
“Looking forward – as future investment comes [into the site] that will be repeated, but we will also be looking at planning and scheduling skills, quality team expansion and the general leadership of site as the site gets bigger,” Connor added.
“It’s the full range of roles you’d have on a manufacturing site, but as we move forward we’ll recruit more. One of the key parts is as the technology evolves, it’s about finding that next generation that have the skills as well.”
Opened in 2000, Alpro’s Kettering site produces plant-based drinks for the UK market. The manufacturer reported value sales worth £259.6m in the 52 weeks to 17 July 2021.
Meanwhile, Avara Foods is to create more than 150 new jobs as part of a £4.7m investment into a new facility in Wednesbury, West Midlands.