Avara Foods invests over £4M at its processing plants

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

The new automated system helps reduce the reliance on seasonal labour
The new automated system helps reduce the reliance on seasonal labour

Related tags: Meat, Supply chain

Avara Foods, the poultry processor, has revealed that it has invested over £4m in automation, people and packaging at its Hereford and Telford processing plants.

This follows news in January from the company that it had invested £12m​ in automated production for new poultry products, which would complete at the end of 2022. 

As part of this latest investment Avara Foods has introduced what it called 'cutting-edge technology' to deliver its 2022 BBQ range. It said that the new products can be produced with fewer, higher skilled people, less packaging and are easier for consumers to prepare and cook.

The automated lines pack a range of BBQ products, including dark meat and flavoured options, directly into a pouch. The new process, which features in-pouch marination, removes much of the manual process in production, increasing productivity and efficiency while reducing plastic use by over 60%.

Temporary labour

Avara said that the automation reduces its reliance on temporary labour. 

“In previous years servicing volatile BBQ demand has meant a strong reliance on seasonal and temporary labour,”​ said Andrew Brodie, people director at Avara.  

“We know seasonal workers are in short supply, but this latest round of automation means we can manage people numbers through our normal local recruitment activities while ensuring a consistent supply of BBQ products to our retail customers.”

The automation also means more skilled roles, creating opportunities for development and progression, the company said. 

Brodie added: “The difference is that we need fewer, but more highly skilled people to keep that automation running smoothly, and we can recruit them from our local communities. It’s a completely different role and one that’s much more attractive to people who are looking for a career, rather than a job."

Environmental targets

Avara said the new products help the company to meet its environmental targets as the pouches use more than 60% less plastic than traditional poultry packaging.  

“Reducing the amount of plastic we use is a key benefit of these new products, building on the improvements we have already made in whole bird and portion packaging,”​ said sustainability lead, Emily Phelps.”

The new BBQ production lines are the latest in a series of recent investments from Avara. 

Last year poultry processor Avara Foods has invested £2.2m in its Brackley processing plant​ to help modernise staff facilities to boost employee morale.

In 2019 Avara Foods invested £6.5m in its manufacturing capabilities and colleagues at its Hereford factory.

Related topics: Meat, poultry & seafood, Operations

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