Sweet bakery manufacturer Rich Products UK is to consolidate all production in a new facility at Andover in Hampshire.
The business, the largest privately owned frozen food company in the US, said the multi-million pound investment marked its commitment to the UK.
On a 15-acre site the size of 11 football pitches, the purpose-built facility is due to open by the end of the year and will feature a “vast” production hall, said Rich’s.
“Technological innovation is vital, and the new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility will use the very latest automation technologies for dough-making, mixing, depositing, and baking – sourced from the finest suppliers across the world – to ensure we have an unbeatable production facility,” said Paul Edwards, Rich’s commercial director for UK and Europe.
The site will also feature automated finishing and packing and will have a dedicated artisan bakery where smaller batches of artisan-style lines will be produced. A new Customer Solutions Centre will offer customers market insights and enable them to be part of the product development process.
Rich Products’ current production sites in Fareham, Portchester and Hartlebury are to close and transfer to the Andover facility, along with all business support functions. The production sites will run alongside Andover for a time, with full transition planned for next year.
The company said it would support all staff members over the course of restructuring and transition, and was fully committed to consulting with them to mitigate the number of potential redundancies.
“The food manufacturing world is constantly evolving and undergoing rapid change,” said Rich’s UK and EME managing director David Hunt. “This requires us to adapt and innovate, and the new Andover site will mean state-of-the-art technology, exceptional working conditions, and will enable us to continue to improve upon our already first-class customer service and range of sweet bakery products.
“This is an ambitious project that represents our long-term future commitment to the UK. With plans for the next five, 10 and 20 years, the new facility will increase production and business efficiency as we enter a new phase of growth.”
Rich’s supplies sweet bakery products and non-dairy toppings and fillings to the foodservice, in-store bakery and retail sectors. Its frozen and ambient bakery products include muffins, swirls, shortbread, cookies, scones and fruit breads.