National potato supplier Branston has announced plans to open a mashed potato facility to produce and supply leading UK supermarkets.
The facility is due to open by spring 2024 and will be lead by production manager, Wayne Mansfield.
The company currently handles 350,000 tonnes of potatoes for fresh and prepared products and the mashed potato facility will expand its capabilities.
Speaking on Branston’s new mash facility, Mansfield said: “We’ve seen demand for prepared potatoes growing over the years and mash was one product that we weren’t able to produce in-house.
“It needs highly specialised equipment to produce the quality and consistency as well as the right potatoes.
“With our potato expertise and access to the best varieties it was a natural decision for Branston to invest in a mash facility.”
Mashed potato facility
Mansfield said Branston got the go-ahead last October and, after sourcing the best possible kit, construction began in March of this year.
“We’re aiming to begin commissioning in December, ready for technical validation of the product range early in 2024,” he said.
“The build is well under way, and we’re installing state-of-the-art equipment to ensure the process is as efficient as possible, transforming fresh potatoes into chilled mash in under two hours.
“I’ve been in the food industry for 25 years and leading this project for Branston is a fantastic opportunity, to see it from build right through to production.
“We’ve carefully sourced machinery for the latest innovations available creating a highly automated yet flexible process, all of which supports full crop utilisation and efficiency.”
The new Branston facility will feature two main lines producing 14 different products, ranging from ready-to-eat mash, to artisan root vegetable recipes, and topped jacket potatoes.
Branston said the facility is expected to output 23 million packets of mashed potato in the first year.
Group managing director of Branston, Jim Windle, said: “This new facility has been in our plans for some time and now we’re just a matter of months away from starting to produce samples – it is fantastic to see it approach fruition.
“Previously, we sent peeled potatoes away to a third-party facility to be mashed, however, to improve efficiency and sustainability, it made sense to develop a solution in-house where we know we can get the best out of every potato and use the right varieties for the right products.
“This will not only improve the consumer product, but also make the supply chain more sustainable.”
Branston will hold a ‘Monster Mash’ recruitment event at the Branston site on Tuesday, October 31, between 1:00p.m and 7:00p.m for the new facility.
“We are very excited to be bringing 90 incremental new job opportunities to Branston and the surrounding Lincoln area,” Windle said.
“These roles will be specialised due to the technical nature of the production line and will include engineers, machine technicians, line operatives, section managers and a host of other positions.”