R&R completes £25m investment in North Yorkshire

James Thompson, head of operations at Stokesley-based anaerobic digestion plant developer JFS Associates (left) and Ryad Apasa  head of operations at R&R Ice Creams Leeming Bar site (right)
James Thompson, head of operations at Stokesley-based anaerobic digestion plant developer JFS Associates (left) and Ryad Apasa head of operations at R&R Ice Creams Leeming Bar site (right)
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R&R Ice Cream, ​one of the ​the world’s largest ice cream manufacturer​s​, has completed a ​£25​m investment programme at its Leeming Bar factory in North Yorkshire.

The firm said t​he ​​four year​ ​​investment​ ​programme ​will​ increase production capability at the site by more than 20​ per cent​.

The site ​will roll out a number of well-known brands including Fab, Oreo,​ ​Smarties, Cadbury, Rowntrees and leading frozen yoghurt brand Yoomoo as well as own label​ ​products for all the UK’s leading retailers. ​

Ryad Apasa, ​h​ead of UK ​o​perations for R&R, said: “This latest investment means the factory is now​ ​one of the five largest ice cream and lolly production facilities in the world.

​"​I am equally delighted​ ​that – despite achieving a significant increase in production – changes we have made to the energy​ ​supply and treatment of effluent mean the site’s carbon footprint has actually reduced slightly. We continue to focus on sustainability​ ​and are currently investigating installing photovoltaic cells on the factory roof.” ​

The factory ​now ​has 22 production lines making 250 million litres of ice cream a year with a​ ​workforce of more than 500 at peak production times.

It ​will ​manufacture a wide range of ice cream,​ ​lollies and frozen yoghurt in many different formats including tubs, cones, bars, desserts, stick​ ​products and ice cream sandwiches. ​

To meet the demand for more power, the firm has installed a new CHP (Combined Heating and​ ​Power plant).

Faced with a requirement to spend £1.5​m on new cabling and upgrading a​ ​nearby sub-station, R&R decided to install the plant which is powered by natural gas.

When​ ​operational, the heat produced by the generator is itself used to produce hot water for the site as​ ​well as steam which is used for general cleaning purposes.

Installing the CHP plant has led to significant savings in energy costs and R&R estimates the £2​m​ ​cost of the plant will be repaid in just over three years.

More production has also meant that the capacity of the on-site effluent treatment plant has been​ ​increased from 600,000 litres to 1.5 million litres per a day.

From early 2016 around 30,000 tonnes of this waste annually –​ ​some two-thirds of the total – will be taken to a nearby anaerobic digester, owned by Leeming​ ​Biogas.

​​The ice cream waste will be used to produce biomethane which will be fed directly into​ ​the local gas network which in turn supplies R&R with gas for their CHP. The remaining waste will be​ ​used to enhance local agricultural land.

​As part of the investment programme, manufacturing equipment has also been re-engineered. This has enabled products such as the Cadbury Dairy Milk Marvellous Creations range with its inclusion of jellies and popping candy to be made along with a Yoomoo lolly which has a very high yoghurt content, is low in fat and proving very popular with families.

“Through using our skilled in-house engineering teams to adapt the existing production equipment,​ ​we can continue to advance the boundaries with new manufacturing techniques which ensure R&R’s reputation for innovation will continue,” ​said Mr Apasa.