Meadow Foods, a leading independent supplier of milk and dairy ingredients to the food industry, has announced the development of a new segregated facility at its Chester site to produce plant-based products.
The £4m investment will see Meadow Foods utilise its experience and knowledge to produce a range of plant-based ingredients including milks, creams, yoghurts, and custard, with opportunities to expand the portfolio to consider sour creams, soft cheese anda base for mousse.
The base recipe for the range consists of a bespoke blend of oats and rice that has reportedly been in development for more than 12 months and has been specifically created to achieve the right balance across taste and texture.
Image: Meadow Foods
The new range reflects market trends that suggest 46% of UK consumers tried plant-based alternatives at least once in 2019, according to Innova Market Insights.
CEO of Meadow Foods, Mark Chantler commented: “This decision is in direct response to consumers who are choosing to make lifestyle changes and purchase new and innovative products as well as demand from our customers for high quality, valued added plant-based ingredients.
“Dairy remains core to our business and we will continue to explore strategic investments, partnerships and acquisitions that extend the range of quality products we are able to offer our customers, allowing us to offer complementary products alongside our dairy range.”
Building works commenced in January 2020 at Chester with food production expected to begin towards the end of 2020.
The expansion follows Meadow Foods’ acquisition of Nimbus Foods, one of Europe’s leading innovators and manufacturers of high-quality inclusions, decorations and toppings for the food industry, in October 2019.
That acquisition followed a strategic investment into Meadow Foods from UK private equity firm, Exponent in mid-2018, intended to support the business’ strategy to grow through organic expansion and acquisitions.
Meadow Foods operates from four sites in Chester, Peterborough, Holme-on-Spalding Moor and Dolgellau. The company currently employs more than 430 people and handles in excess of 550 million litres of milk a year direct from its network of dedicated milk producers across the UK.