Alpro expands plant-based capabilities in UK, Project Helix pumps US$256m to Welsh food industry

UK – Alpro, one of the leading European plant-based companies, has completed a £17m (US$23.22m) capacity expansion project at its Kettering production facility in an effort to cater to rising demand for alternative dairy products.  

The latest investment is part of Alpro’s £41m (US$56m) UK investment plan at the site. It is comprised of a new high-speed production line set to increase production capacity to 300m litres of soya, oat, rice, and coconut drinks a year.  

The company has also installed a combined cooling, heat, and power unit – CCHP or ‘trigeneration’ which simultaneously generates electricity, useful heating, and cooling from the combustion of gas. 

According to the Gent, Belgium-based company, trigeneration reduces energy consumption at a plant that already uses 100% renewable electricity.  

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The site also boasts a new water treatment plant, that cuts water usage and results in 218 m of water being reused on-site every day – enough to fill more than an Olympic-sized swimming pool each week. 

Sue Garfitt, general manager for Alpro, said: “As the plant-based category leader, we have been blazing a trail in sustainable production for more than 40 years and there’s no question that this significant investment in our UK site is the latest example of that.  

“The changes we are installing will not only accelerate the volume of products we are producing in the UK, for UK shoppers, but will also allow us to keep ahead of the curve and continue being the brand to fuel the category growth and whet the nation’s appetite for delicious and healthy plant-based products.” 

 Alpro’s Kettering investment has created 25 new jobs at the factory, bolstering the already 200-plus strong workforce already on site, to help meet demand.  

£185.6m boost to Welsh food and drink industry 

Meanwhile, in Whales, Project Helix, the Welsh Government and EU-funded project designed to develop new products and create new jobs, has continued to support growth in the food and drink industry. 

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The latest figures showed that the project has had an economic impact of £185.6m on food and drink businesses in Wales, as well as helped to create 447 jobs and safeguard a further 2,306.  

Rural Affairs minister Lesley Griffiths said the success of Project HELIX showed the importance of collaboration between academia, industry experts, government, and producers to boost innovation, create jobs, build skills and launch new businesses.  

“As we recover from the pandemic and face the pressing challenges of a changing climate, the ability to innovate and seize new opportunities will be more important than ever to our Welsh food and drink businesses,” Griffiths added.  

“I encourage producers and manufacturers across Wales to explore what support is available through Project HELIX and how its world-class expertise and advanced technical facilities can benefit their businesses”.  

Businesses that have benefited from the support offered by Project HELIX included ready-made meals firm Authentic Curries and World Foods that received technical support in areas such as internal auditing against BRCGS Food Safety standards and basic food safety. 

 Paul Trotman, managing director of Authentic Curries, said: “The support we’ve received from ZERO2FIVE has benefited us no end.” 

“It’s been invaluable to have expertise from outside, coming in and auditing us in preparation for BRCGS. All of the involvement we have had with Cardiff Met University has been amazing and it helps things run a lot more smoothly.” 

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