UK bakery group Warburtons is set to construct a new £14 million (€20.3m) extension to its Bellshill bakery, which will increase the company's output for the region. The firm says that the project, which will take an estimated 10 months to complete, will enable the company to increase its bread output in Scotland from 600,000 loaves to 900,000.
"The building of a second plant is recognition of what has been achieved in a relatively short space of time by the teams at Bellshill," said Warburton's Scotland general manager Adam Marson. "The development will enable us to bake even more high quality fresh bread for Scottish consumers and eventually expand the range of products we produce at Bellshill."
As well as a new plant bakery, the extension will include space for additional storage for ingredients and will utilise the latest technology designed to maximise the potential of an infrastructure originally built in 1996. the company claims that the expansion will also create around 50 new jobs in Scotland for bakery operatives, plant engineers and bakery team leaders. The company already employs 260 staff at its bakeries at Bellshill and Aberdeen.
The company is also planning to expand its bakery in Burnley, England. The plant, which employs 300 local people, currently produces over one million products a week, which are distributed throughout the Lancashire area.
Over £442,000 is to be spent in the next 12 months to increase speed and efficiency of production at the site, which was built in 1981. An investment of £125,000 will be used to install state-of-the-art automated feed-wrapping equipment to speed up production of the new Half Loaf Toastie product.
A further cash injection of £211,000 will extend the vehicle loading area increasing space to make up bread orders.
In addition the bakery is investing £106,000 in DISTRIB - a new paperless despatch system - which is working well across other sites in the company's 11 bakery-strong UK network. This will increase accuracy of orders and improve product loading generally.
Warburtons general manager at Burnley, Duncan Lees, said the investment was very welcome. "Over the last few years we have worked hard to develop sales performance with a total commitment to product quality and drive for innovation. As a result of that we have seen consumer demand outstrip our space and plant capabilities. This investment programme will help us meet those demands more efficiently."
These investments represent the latest steps taken to increase the company's production capacity. In December last year, Warburton's completed an 8,000 sq ft extension to its distribution centre.
Warburtons has established itself as one of Scotland's major wrapped bread brands. The firm has a 33 per cent share of spend in the market place and employs around 3,200 staff. Warburtons is one of the top ten leading consumer grocery brands in the UK.