UK – 2 Sisters Food Group, one of the largest privately-owned food manufacturing companies in the UK, is investing £7.5m (US$10.36m) into modernizing facilities at its UK poultry processing factory. 

The site, based on Sandycroft Industrial Estate in Wales, processes one million birds a week and is a major supplier to the UK’s largest supermarkets, as well as providing wholesale products to KFC. 

According to Food Manufacturer, the investment has enabled the installation of new technology including automated packing lines, new packaging machines, and x-ray bone detection machinery for fillet production. 

The investment which has also seen upgrading of cutting lines at the facility to increase capacity is expected to create 200 additional workers in roles such as butchery, trimming, hangers and primary operatives working on various shift patterns. 

“This investment is superb news for the future of our site and our colleagues as we create a skilled and sustainable workforce,” said a spokesman for the Sandycroft site.  

“Colleagues who join the Sandycroft team will have learning and development opportunities enabling the site to develop competent, skilled, and sustainable teams”

In addition to the new roles at Sandycroft, the site will be recruiting up to 60 new Apprentices over the next 12 months who will be exposed to a fully-funded Level 2 Food Manufacturing Excellence in Poultry.  

This would offer a vocational route for Apprentices to gain a nationally recognised qualification whilst earning a market-rate wage, not the usual Apprentice rate, said 2 Sisters.  

UK staring at the worst food shortage in 75 years

Earlier, Ranjit Singh Boparan, president and founder of 2 Sisters Food Group has warned that the UK will see ‘the worst food shortages in 75 years’ caused by bigger issues than the ‘pingdemic’ unless the Government acts swiftly. 

Pingdemic was a term coined by UK citizens to describe the requirement to self isolate once you have been pinged by the NHS Covid-19 app. The notification is sent after the app registers that you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive with Covid-19. 

The number of people being “pinged” by the app has risen sharply over recent weeks, causing difficulties for some industries as large numbers of staff are having to stay at home and self-isolate. 

The situation has been particularly causing chaos in the food industry as many production line workers are effectively taken out of action when they receive a notification via the app. 

The Government has recently approved measures exempting certain types of workers including food production staff from having to self-isolate if they are ‘pinged’ or sent an alert by the NHS COVID-19 app in an effort to avert a possible food crisis.

Even with the recent government action, Boparan believes that the pingdemic is just a tip of the ice-berg, the major issue being a deteriorating operating environment.  

“The Government needs to act immediately if it wants to avoid the most serious food shortages that this country has seen in over 75 years. Not acting would be irresponsible,” he added. 

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