R&R Ice Cream, one of the the world’s largest ice cream manufacturers, has completed a £25m investment programme at its Leeming Bar factory in North Yorkshire.
The firm said the 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, head of UK operations 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 £1.5m 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 £2m 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.