Cranswick, one of the UK’s leading producers of fresh pork, recently revealed its plan to diversify into other proteins. That’s why the company acquired Crown Chicken in Weybread. The plan is to expand its poultry activities in a brand new factory half an hour down the road at Eye in Suffolk.
By building the greenfield plant in Eye, Cranswick is showing its commitment to moving forward in the poultry business. This new £54m [$69m USD] processing facility on the Norfolk/Suffolk border could create up to 400 jobs for the region. Chief executive Adam Couch says, ”The proposed facility shows our company’s ambitions in the poultry sector.
The Crown Chicken site came with a state-of-the-art hatchery and farming background but it did not have a processing facility to match that. The classleading facility at Eye, which is scheduled for completion in late 2019, will double our existing throughput of birds with further room for expansion. The plant will incorporate the highest animal welfare standards and latest generation production techniques and equipment to drive operational efficiency gains.”
Crown Chicken was a traditional processor selling some 80% of its products to the wholesale market in whole bird form. Only 20% was cut up. Cranswick PLC is looking to move into the retail market, bringing production standards to the highest level. With this idea in mind, Cranswick approached Marel Poultry, a company with a reputation for supplying the most technically advanced solutions to the poultry processing industry. “We want to have the best chicken factory with the highest processing speed, to become the premium poultry processor in Britain,” says Adam Crouch.
Cranswick management has expressed a clear wish to hit the highest throughput levels with the focus on premium quality products. The new factory will therefore include all of Marel Poultry’s latest developments, state-of-the-art technologies from live bird handling right up to the end of the process. With the help of these systems, Cranswick will be able to process chicken at a line speed of 15,000 bph [250 bpm], the fastest possible in the industry today. Every step in the process can handle this throughput, while still allowing control to be kept of the highest quality standards and ensuring optimum efficiency levels without compromise. The configuration chosen will definitely help Cranswick to become the UK’s premium processor.
In this new processing facility, Cranswick’s focus will be very much on sustainability. The company’s management made environmentally conscious choices when deciding for Marel Poultry’s most energy- and water-efficient processes and equipment. Also with today’s developments towards restrictions on water and energy use in mind, Cranswick decided to install a high-tech greenfield wastewater treatment plant, which will also be supplied by Marel. The installation is projected to have sufficient fresh water available for the processing plant and to treat effluent to potable water quality.
The second floor of the building features a corridor with viewing windows, which can host customers or visitors. This viewing corridor will give them a total overview of the factory without people needing to enter the departments and wear protective clothing. Also on the second floor, there is a “control tower” which acts as the nerve center of the factory. This room is home to Marel’s Innova Food Processing Software and features numerous screens, all displaying the real-time status of production and yield. The integrated Innova solution will enable Cranswick to control, monitor and report on all of its processes.
Cranswick began in the 1970’s as a group of pig farmers who came together to produce pig feed. In the 1980’s the company moved into food production. Based in Hull, it is now one of Britain’s largest food businesses. With its state-of-the-art production sites and new product development facilities, Cranswick creates authentic, innovative British-made food that customers trust. With today’s worries about food security, Cranswick believes in integrity, operating a sustainable and ethical supply chain from farm to fork. The business now employs over 10,000 people across the UK and operates 15 sites; they produce a variety of products ranging from fresh pork and chicken, sausage and bacon, to cooked meats and gourmet pastry.