Company invests £2m in Bicester site as it sees fourfold increase in demand
Fresh Direct has reported a fourfold increase in production for its Fresh Kitchen brand, which produces a comprehensive range of sauces, pickles, slaws, marinades, relishes and desserts for the foodservice industry.
As a result, the company has invested £2m at its Bicester site, including new equipment and new infrastructure as it scales up to meet demand.
“Historically, Fresh Kitchen manufactured products for foodservice operators looking to elevate their menu with premium quality ingredients and finished dishes that were either difficult, or time consuming, for caterers to make in-house,” says James Chilton, Manufacturing Manager at Fresh Kitchen. “However, with many operators struggling to attract skilled kitchen staff, we are now seeing demand for a much wider range of products, including many that would previously have been made in-house. We are able to provide caterers with high quality finished products of great consistency, and an escape from the headache of trying to find and retain staff capable of making these products in-house.”
To meet the growing demand for its products and ingredients Fresh Kitchen has increased the size of its manufacturing facility by 20% to allow for additional ovens and blast chillers. A further high volume boiling pan is planned for early 2023.
With access to the UK’s widest range of fresh produce at Fresh Direct, and thousands of other ingredients available from sister companies within Sysco GB, Fresh Kitchen is ideally placed to help a wide range of foodservice operators create bespoke dishes that save them time and effort and mitigate the challenges of the current labour market.
“We currently have a range of around 400 products in our portfolio, but during any one week we will produce around 70 of those for a variety of different clients. However, the beauty of the way we work is that customers can cherry pick from this selection on the basis that we carry more than 600 ingredients and can turn on production as and when required,” says Chilton. “Growth is currently coming from a number of different product lines, but in particular Bolognese sauce, Beef Bourguignon, and pickles made with ingredients such as cucumber, red onion, and fennel. The latter are particularly popular as we expedite the pickling process and provide a product that is ready to use, as opposed to the customer having to make their own and then wait days for it to ferment.”
In line with the increased production capability Fresh Kitchen has also added to its team of development chefs with two new developments chefs and one product development executive being added to the existing group.