New £5m factory boosts business for Lincoln potato firm

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Branston (Potatoes) Ltd has launched its new £5 million prepared food factory making imperfect potatoes perfect for consumers.

As one of Tesco’s two suppliers, the new building will help to meet the growing demand for convenient and healthy meal solutions.

The 1,700 sq ft expansion has created 20 new jobs and will allow potatoes which are not suitable for the fresh market to be peeled before going to convenience food producers as part of their mash potato ranges or as a topping for pies or casseroles.

Branston Ltd has worked in partnership with both Tesco and Samworth Brothers on the project which saw £2.5 million of the investment go towards the new peeling machinery.

It has allowed Branston Ltd to increase a crops yield from 40% to 60%.

Around 15% of any crop is deemed imperfect and, up until recently, has been unsellable, with another 5% of a crop being unable to be used at all.

The development comes in a bid to support Tesco’s commitment to reducing waste, with potatoes unsuitable for the fresh market being peeled at the site before being shared with convenience food producers Samworth Brothers for Tesco’s convenience meals.

James Truscott Managing Director for Branston Potatoes. Photo: Steve Smailes

James Truscott Managing Director for Branston Potatoes. Photo: Steve Smailes

James Truscott, Managing Director for Branston Ltd, said: “It’s responding to genuine interest in food waste and it’s got us all thinking about clever ways to deliver better, smarter, more efficient and more sustainably to supply chains.

“It’s new business that we didn’t have before. Historically the product that we’re now using, you would have sold away at a very low value and we are now able to sell it at a higher value because we’re adding value to that crop.

“We’re getting it into format that is really useful for Samworths, but because we’ve designed it as this efficient closed loop system we can do that at a lower cost.

“They get a better product with more control and more consistency and more efficiency through the chain. It’s very exciting and I think it’s only the start of where this can go.”

Matt Simister, Commercial Director for fresh food and commodities at Tesco, said: “It heralds a new era of multi-party relationships where we can create efficient, customer focused, low waste food systems.

“This type of concept can be expanded into many different food sectors in different ways. It makes us look at our supply chains in a different way and do things accordingly.

“Customers can get better, more consistent quality products and the right ingredients for the right end product.”