Potato supplier Branston has announced the completion of a £6 million investment at its Lincoln site, installing a new grading unit and a system to adjust the temperature of its potatoes before pre-packing.
The new optical grader has been designed to make grading and sizing more efficient on the 2,500 tonnes of potatoes that Branston packs each week.
The low-energy WarmStor system, meanwhile, will allow the company to adjust the temperature of potatoes to the optimum level for prepacking.
This will improve the way crops are handled through the packing process, enhancing the end quality and reducing waste.
John Griffin, general manager at Branston’s Lincoln site, said: “We have to continually modernise and adapt to the ever-changing food industry in order to have a sustainable business.
“By installing cutting-edge technology into our ways of working, we are ensuring that we remain at the forefront of an evolving industry.”
This significant investment follows major redevelopment work at the company’s Perthshire site, as well as complementing Branston’s recent prepared foods factory extension in Lincoln, both of which form part of the company’s strategy to meet increased customer demand and reduce its environmental impact and food wastage.
In July 2016, Branston’s Perthshire site successfully trialled a fully integrated grading, washing and sizing line worth £1.7 million.
The all-in-one process is designed to reduce the manual handling of crop, grade the potatoes to remove quality defects and then sort into much more accurate size bands ready for packing.
Griffin said: “This new technology means that [our customers] can be confident that we are doing all we can to put only the best products on the plates of their customers.”