Pet food firm makes £5m investment in HQ

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A pet food manufacturer says it is starting to reap the rewards of a £5m investment in its business.

Grove Pet Foods built a new packing hall at its North Scarle, Lincolnshire, site earlier this year, which has been followed by the installation of a new multi-head bagging machine – at a cost of £2.5m.

The new bagging line, which handles the “smaller” 90g to 6kg bags is fully automated and shares the new hall with a much bigger line, filling 6kg to 25 kgs.

But Grove hasn’t stopped there. Directors have just commissioned a new £1.5m warehouse, which has been built over the past five months, and provides 3,000 pallet spaces.

Site production manager Richard Cornwell said these investments are designed to help Grove meet rising demand, as the company targets more potential customers and markets at home and overseas. The good news is they are already proving their worth.

“Coincidentally, the upgrading of the site’s facilities has happened at a time when the UK alone has seen a massive surge in pet ownership, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, seeing people forced to isolate or switch to working from home.

“These investments mean members of our 80-strong team – who work 24-hours shifts over five days each week producing 400 to 450 tonnes of complete dried pet food and mixer – are well-placed to help drive the projected growth of the business.

“Our small bags processing line has automated a process which was previously carried out by hand. It has made it easier for staff to carry out quality checks and increased overall efficiency,” said Cornwell.

Grove makes foods for dogs, cats, hedgehogs, rabbits, swans, ducks and fish and Cornwell said the company’s equipment has created slicker operations all-round.

“We pay great attention to detail and quality is our priority from the moment we receive the raw materials to creating and despatching foods to our customers.

“For instance, we have a special optical sorting system, which can identify foreign bodies and check the product is to specification. We also x-ray our products This gives us extra confidence in our products.”

Grove produces its own Vitalin and Alpha foods, but foods for other brands – supplying a wide variety of wholesale customers.

“It’s not all destined for the home market either. Export sales account for about 20 per cent of our production at North Scarle, with orders shipped throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa,” said Cornwell.

“There are plenty of other potential customers for our sales and marketing people to target,” he added.

Grove’s confident outlook comes after the company has seen growth multiple times over the last five years.

Grove Pet Foods also has a smaller production site in Retford and a distribution hub at Gamston – both Nottinghamshire.

Red Recruitment 24:7’s Lincoln branch manager Ashleigh Bolton was delighted to visit the company after members of the workforce were recommended for recognition by their managers.

She added: “We were pleased to congratulate Auto Packing Line Operative Peter Waddington and Operative Stephen Moorhouse for the way in which they quickly fitted into the Grove team and for all the hard work they have done to date.”

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