Burts ups capacity in Devon to cope with demand

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Burts Chips has installed a high-speed potato frying line at its Devon facility to cope with growing demand. Pic: Burts
Burts Chips has installed a high-speed potato frying line at its Devon facility to cope with growing demand. Pic: Burts

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Potato chip producer Burts Chips has added 20% capacity at its Roborough factory by installing a high-speed potato frying line and adding 12 more jobs.

A company spokesperson told BakeryandSnacks the £3m ($3.9m) investment in equipment and staff will help meet the growing demand from across the UK, as well as in the US, Canada and EMEA.

The new equipment has increased production capacity for Burt’s hand-cooked chips from 160 tons to 200 tons, while volumes of the Better For You range will jump to 23 tons.

The British-owned company also employed another 12 staff to help operate the new fryer and cope with the additional volumes, bringing the factory’s total headcount to 168.

Long-term investment

The latest investment is part of the company’s five-year £12m ($15.9m) program to increase production capacity and drive efficiencies at the Plymouth site.

“This has enabled us to realise significant year-on-year growth across all areas of our UK and export business, taking the company from £11.4 million ($15.1m)  in 2013 to £24.5 million ($32.5m) in 2016,” ​said David Nairn, Burt’s MD.

“This year, we are on course to grow by a further 30% and the new potato fryer is integral to this success, giving us the additional capacity needed to fulfil increased demand from our existing customers, as well as driving new business and innovation.”

Upping efficiencies

The potato fryer is the company’s second high-capacity line to be installed and the tenth overall at its Devon production site.

The factory also received a bagging system to cope with the increased volumes earlier this year, and the installation of a fully automated palletisation system is planned for the first quarter of next year.

On track

The 20-year-old company produces Burts hand-cooked potato crisps, the Better For You range – including Lentil Waves and Quinoa Crinkles – and a range of licensed partnerships with brands such as Guinness, Hobgoblin and Levi Roots.

It supplies its products to multiple and independent retailers, wholesalers, pubs plus vending and foodservice sectors in the UK and US, Canada and EMEA.

Burts Chips said it is on course to reach £32m ($42.4m) in 2017 through organic growth.

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