To meet the growing demand for its Fresh Kitchen brand, Fresh Direct has increased the size of its manufacturing facility by 20% to allow for additional ovens and blast chillers. A further high-volume boiling pan is planned for early 2023.
Manufacturing manager James Chilton said a shortage of skilled kitchen staff among caterers had sparked a rush for Fresh Kitchen’s products, including many that would have been made in-house.
‘Escape the headache’
“We are able to provide caterers with high quality finished products of great consistency, and an escape from the headache of trying to find and retain staff capable of making these products in-house,” he added.
In line with the increased production capability Fresh Kitchen has also added to its team of development chefs with two new developments chefs and one product development executive being added to the existing group.
Fresh Direct, part of the Sysco group, is a specialist supplier of locally and globally sourced fresh produce and dairy to the foodservice and hospitality industries. The Kitchen Fresh brand produces a range of sauces, pickles, slaws, marinades, relishes and desserts.
“We currently have a range of around 400 products in our portfolio, but during any one week we will produce around 70 of those for a variety of different clients,” said Chilton. “However, the beauty of the way we work is that customers can cherry pick from this selection on the basis that we carry more than 600 ingredients and can turn on production as and when required.
“Growth is currently coming from a number of different product lines, but in particular Bolognese sauce, Beef Bourguignon, and pickles made with ingredients such as cucumber, red onion, and fennel.
“The latter are particularly popular as we expedite the pickling process and provide a product that is ready to use, as opposed to the customer having to make their own and then wait days for it to ferment.”
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