HECK! Food invests in solar energy production at its Bedale headquarters

Sausage and burger company HECK! has invested in solar energy production at its Yorkshire headquarters

The company, which is based in Kirklington, Bedale, has installed 433 solar electricity panels, capable of generating 200,000 kwh per year, 20 per cent of the factory energy.

Jamie Keeble, HECK! co-founder, said the installation of solar panels was “an additional effort to make sure that we’re being sustainable from a factory perspective and also to support our journey to net zero. We’ll be saving 45 tonnes of carbon per year”.

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HECK! has installed 433 solar electricity panels, capable of generating 200,000 kwh per year, 20 per cent of the factory energy, at its Yorkshire headquarters.HECK! has installed 433 solar electricity panels, capable of generating 200,000 kwh per year, 20 per cent of the factory energy, at its Yorkshire headquarters.
HECK! has installed 433 solar electricity panels, capable of generating 200,000 kwh per year, 20 per cent of the factory energy, at its Yorkshire headquarters.

The project has received a £49,950 grant of the total £150,000 investment, from the UK government through the UK shared prosperity fund.

This is a central pillar of the levelling up agenda and has provided £2.6bn of funding for local investment by March 2025. One of the pillars is supporting businesses in their journey to net zero and supporting the circular economy.

Richard Flinton, chief executive of North Yorkshire Council, said: “Supporting the decarbonisation of the county is a key priority for the council.

"It is brilliant to see this grant have such a positive impact in supporting HECK! Food to install solar panels. Manufacturers of quality products like HECK! are an important part of the economy and it is vital they’re supported to reach net zero.”

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In addition to the solar panels installed on site, HECK! is working on a programme of sustainability initiatives in its journey to net zero. Part of this work has been the launch of the HECK! care Code to work on initiatives across health, environment, community and kindness.

Mr Keeble added: “Our care code is a four-pronged approach that leads to a better HECK! and a better world. It stands for health, environment, community and kindness.

“We are quite unique in the industry as we make all our sausages, meatballs and burgers at our HECK! factory and we’re the only premium brand who makes their own food.

"We’ve made a commitment to our consumers and retail customers to show a transparent sustainability journey. We have measured our scope one and two industry standards emissions for three years now, and as such we’ve managed a 30 per cent reduction in our emissions.

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"We recently measured scope three emissions and are now identifying opportunities to reduce emissions further. Our first annual impact report will be published this year which charts our climate impact across our supply chain.”

It comes after the firm pledged to make a £1m investment in the future of the business in January this year.

Part of the investment is going towards automating the packaging process for the business which Mr Keeble said was currently ‘very labour intensive’.

He said around eight jobs would be lost as a result of the change – a decision which was driven in part by increases to the minimum wage which came in from April.

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"We want to keep the best people we can in the business and reposition them elsewhere,” he said.

Money has also been invested in a company rebrand, although its current name will be kept. The current different colours for its product range will be dropped in favour of a standard pink packaging across all of its different food offerings to attract younger shoppers.

The company’s most recent annual results, published in April and covering the year to July 31, 2023, recorded pre-tax losses of £70,000 compared to £520,000 after switching its focus to more profitable lines. However, turnover fell by nine per cent to £23.8m.

Discarded lines included frozen and cooked snacks range and some of its plant-based products.