Dairy firm investing £4m in expansion into plant-based products

Meadow Foods has announced it is developing a new segregated facility at its Chester site to produce plant-based products.

The £4m investment sees Meadow Foods utilise its experience and knowledge to produce high-quality plant-based ingredients that it says don’t compromise on taste, texture or quality.

Building works commenced in January 2020 at Chester with food production expected to begin towards the end of 2020.

The range of value-added ingredients will consist of milks, creams, yoghurts, and custard, with opportunities to expand the portfolio to consider sour creams, soft cheese and a base for mousse.

The new range reflects market trends that suggest 46% of UK consumers tried plant-based alternatives at least once in 2019.

Chief executive Mark Chantler said: “We’re excited to be developing our capabilities and capacity to manufacture a range of plant-based products that extend the strength and depth of our product portfolio.

“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.”

The base recipe for the range consists of a bespoke blend of oats and rice.

It has been in careful development for more than 12 months and has been specifically created to achieve the right balance across taste and texture.

The new range will build on Meadow Foods’ product portfolio that was strengthened last year by the acquisition of Nimbus Foods, one of Europe’s leading innovators and manufacturers of high-quality inclusions, decorations and toppings for the food industry.

Meadow Foods is an award-winning company that operates from four BRC AA-accredited sites in Chester, Peterborough, Holme-on-Spalding Moor and Dolgellau where they manufacture value-added ingredients seven days a week for some of the UK’s best known food manufacturers.

The company currently employs more than 430 people and handles in excess of 550 million litres of milk each year direct from its network of dedicated milk producers across the UK.