Kanes Foods has opened a £30 million salad factory in Evesham that it claims will increase production to 2.2 million bags a week.
The 11,000m2 facility that boasts hemp clad walls, solar panels and geothermal pumps is “one of the most environment-friendly buildings in the country”, according to the Worcestershire company.
BBC's Countryfile presenter James Wong went to the factory’s green roof, billed as “one of the largest bio-diverse wildflower grass roofs in the UK,” to perform the traditional topping-out ceremony by laying out the final turf.
Here is a link to our video report on the salad factory opening. You can watch it below.
Wong told FPJ: “This building is so unusual for fresh produce industry standards. It isn’t just a building that just looks ecological, as right down to the materials, to the green roof, everything reduces carbon footprint and boosts productivity."
He added: “It all looks quite futuristic and James Bond. In my TV career I’ve never seen a building built almost entirely with hempcrete and to think this factory is built with a plant that could be grown locally is quite something.”
The factory was conceived by late Kanes Foods founder John Randall and the opening is seen as a celebration of his legacy.
Commercial director Jeremy Folkard said: "John had the vision three years ago of building a factory with the latest technology and a sustainable build; he would have been proud to see it come to fruition.”
Folkard has helped build Kanes’ turnover to £100 million a year and the fresh produce distributor now supplies many of the UK’s leading supermarkets. He said: “The factory has the capacity to expand and we could see production levels rise to 3.3m bags of salad a week.
"The factory’s optical sorting, more robust washing system and air dryers will ensure Kanes Food continues to be an industry leader; we can’t wait for production to start.”