Branston invests in its South West site for sustainable growth

Branston Ltd has carried out a �1.4million extension and refurbishment of its potato packing factory in Ilminster, to increase the site's future efficiency.

The UK’s leading potato supplier, Branston Ltd has made the investment to its Somerset-based site to make its operations more environmentally and economically efficient. This is the largest sum ever spent refurbishing the factory, and follows on from the installation of a �1million water recycling plant at the site last year.

The factory extension has seen space at the end of the packing lines increased for future automation and a dedicated washing area created for transit packaging. Hygienic new finishes have been applied to all the floors and walls, as well as non-slip floors installed across the site to improve safety. Space has been generated to install a new packing line as well as an increased capacity for finished product storage prior to despatch. The extended building has also substantially enlarged the factory’s existing despatch area.

Ian Wait, general manager at the Branston site says: “Branston has made this significant investment in the Somerset site in order to increase the site’s future efficiency, in terms of both its production methods and its environmental output. The extension gives us room to spread out now and means that we’ll be able to accommodate increased production volume in the future. The insulated roof and energy efficient lighting is another step for us in terms of reducing our carbon footprint as a company, as well as reducing our operating costs significantly in the longer term.

“This extension and refurbishment is part of our continuing investment which last year saw us install our water recycling plant, which is already reducing our mains water usage by at least 60%.”

Since the water plant’s installation Branston is already saving 41 cubic metres of mains water every day - the equivalent of 230 baths or enough water to fill a large swimming pool. The recycling system treats the waste water from washing potatoes by removing the soil. The water then passes through a state-of-the-art membrane bioreactor for further filtration. The recycled water is then stored and used on site to wash potatoes.

Ian adds: “We hope that this large investment will show our commitment as a potato supplier to ensuring high quality, efficient production with plenty of potential to grow, as well as our continuing efforts to look at greener ways of working.”