The investment was driven by a need to centralise production and packing in the face of export challenges and continued demand for the brand.
Director David Taylor said: “The requirement for continuing growth driven expansion, and the increased complexities around exporting into Europe, meant we really had to take all production and packing in-house, and built something bespoke to us that future proofed our production capacity.”
Walker & Drake’s latest investment followed a move to a larger premises last year to facilitate the extra space required for the new factory and warehousing.
As sales director Tim Matthews explained: “By starting with an empty space we’ve been able to create an efficient workflow from goods-in, through the production process to bagging, warehousing and then back out the door as finished product.”
“We must be one of very few companies currently building a new pet food facility in the UK but we’re passionate about keeping our production here and having control over all aspects of it.
Sourced in the UK
“Just like the ingredients we use in our products we’ve sourced the equipment, fabrication, and installation from UK companies wherever possible. In fact, apart from one item, all the major components, the design, and installation team are from within a 25-mile radius of our site.”
News of Walker & Drake’s £900,000 factory spend followed a number of recent investments in plant and equipment by food and drink manufacturers over the past month.
Last week, Northern Ireland-based Classic Mineral Water announced it had invested £3.4m in developing a third bottling line as it extended its reach into the own-label market and created 16 new jobs.
Meanwhile, in April, Cumbria-based Winter Tarn Dairy invested £150k in a new production facility and specialist packaging machinery to help meet increasing demand for the foodservice sector.