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3 minute read | 19th April 2022

Avara Foods invests over £4m in new production lines

Avara Foods has made an investment of over £4m in automation, people and packaging – the latest in a series of investments aimed at making sustainability improvements, increasing productivity and expanding capacity.

At its Hereford and Telford processing plants, Avara has invested in new technology to deliver its 2022 BBQ range. The new products can be produced with fewer, higher skilled people, less packaging and are easier for consumers to prepare and cook.

The automated lines pack a range of BBQ products, including dark meat and flavoured options, directly into a pouch. The new process, which features in-pouch marination, removes much of the manual process in production, increasing productivity and efficiency, while reducing plastic use by over 60%. Avara says the automation also reduces its reliance on temporary labour at a time when the market remains tight.

Avara Foods has made an investment of more than £4m in automation at its Hereford and Telford plants to improve productivity / Picture: Avara Foods

Andrew Brodie, people director at Avara, said: “In previous years, servicing volatile BBQ demand has meant a strong reliance on seasonal and temporary labour. We know seasonal workers are in short supply, but this latest round of automation means we can manage people numbers through our normal local recruitment activities while ensuring a consistent supply of BBQ products to our retail customers.

“Replacing repetitive tasks with automated processes doesn’t remove the need for people. The difference is that we need fewer, but more highly skilled people to keep that automation running smoothly, and we can recruit them from our local communities. It’s a completely different role and one that’s much more attractive to people who are looking for a career, rather than a job.”

The new pouches use more than 60% less plastic than traditional poultry packaging, and will help the company to meet its environmental targets.

Emily Phelps, sustainability lead, added: “Reducing the amount of plastic we use is a key benefit of these new products, building on the improvements we have already made in whole bird and portion packaging.”

The new BBQ production lines are the latest in a series of recent investments by Avara in modern food production, and closely follows a new £4.7m processing plant, which opened in Wednesbury in February.

Brodie concluded: “In recent years, we’ve consistently emphasised the need to invest across the supply chain and this latest development is a great example of what we mean. We think it’s what successful food manufacturing will look like in the future: investment in productivity, the creation of skilled job opportunities for local communities and greater sustainability. There’s no doubt in our minds that the last 18 months has seen lasting structural change, and that successful businesses will be the ones that look forward, not back.”

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