Branston currently handles 350,000 tonnes of potatoes for fresh and prepared products but has not previously been involved in the production of mash.
The facility is set to be operational by the spring of 2024, when the day-to-day will be overseen by new mash production manager Wayne Mansfield.
Construction began in March 2023 and the build is now well underway. Branston said that is investing in state-of-the-art equipment to ensure the production process is as efficient as possible, estimating that fresh potatoes will be transformed into chilled mash in less than two hours.
With two main lines producing 14 different products that range from ready-to-eat mash to artisan root vegetable recipes, the facility is projected to output 23 million packs of mashed potato in its first year.
In addition to its Lincoln base, Branston has sites in Somerset and Perth in Scotland.
Creating jobs in Lincoln
Branston managing director Jim Windle said that the project will lead to the creation of 90 job opportunities in the Lincoln area, which the producer is promoting through a recruitment event on 31 October.
“These roles will be specialised due to the technical nature of the production line and will include engineers, machine technicians, line operatives, section managers and a host of other positions,” added Windle.
Discussing the project underway, Windle explained that it has been part of Branston’s plans for “some time”.
“We’re just a matter of months away from starting to produce samples – it is fantastic to see it approach fruition,” he said.
“Previously, we sent peeled potatoes away to a third-party facility to be mashed, however, to improve efficiency and sustainability, it made sense to develop a solution in-house where we know we can get the best out of every potato and use the right varieties for the right products. This will not only improve the consumer product, but also make the supply chain more sustainable.”
New facility was the ‘natural decision’
Mansfield, who joined the firm in November 2022, added that the new facility is being built in response to growing demand for prepared potato products.
He continued: “It needs highly specialised equipment to produce the quality and consistency as well as the right potatoes. With our potato expertise and access to the best varieties it was a natural decision for Branston to invest in a mash facility.
“I’ve been in the food industry for 25 years and leading this project for Branston is a fantastic opportunity, to see it from build right through to production. We’ve carefully sourced machinery for the latest innovations available creating a highly automated yet flexible process, all of which supports full crop utilisation and efficiency.”
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