Soft drinks brand Britvic have made the decision to invest £240 million in their production and manufacturing processes.
The move will also create plenty of employment opportunities, with new lines going into their Rugby site.
Big investment plans
The company has announced a three-year programme of £240 million in spending. They will be using the funds to step-change their manufacturing capability, starting with expanding their facilities in Rugby. This will cost more than £100 million, and will certainly make a huge difference to their production.
Their plans will create 80 new jobs, ranging from technical operators to engineers and team leaders. This is on top of the current 176 people employed at the site. Part of that was created by the addition of three new can lines which are already installed at the facility. These claim to be some of the fastest lines in Europe, producing as much as 6,000 cans per minute.
The newly designed lines will help to reduce waste and increase production, as well as enabling the dual production of both aluminium and steel cans without needing to switch lines. Their longer-term plan is to switch from steel to aluminium completely by April. This will save 8,000t of metal from their production materials each year.
As for the rest of the investment, groundworks have begun for an on-site warehouse as well as a new aseptic line which will produce drinks free from preservatives.
Great run of sales
The news comes as Britvic are enjoying a great run of sales. Their first quarter figure was at £337.2 million, up by 3.3% year on year. This is above the market average of 1%, but still slightly below the fizzy drink average of 4.9% – mainly driven by an increase in Pepsi sales, which falls under the Britvic family.
“Rugby has been a home to Britvic for more than 30 years. The site has undergone significant change in that time; from the 1980s, when we manually produced drinks, through to the ’90s when we moved to full automation, to our position today as the proud owners of some of the fastest can lines in Europe,” said Clive Hooper, the chief supply chain officer for Britvic.
The failure of Palmer and Harvey had some impact on the business, but one-off costs were absorbed and a spokesman suggested that there would not be any long-term impact because its customer base was mostly supplied by other wholesalers already.
They have made some other big decisions recently, such as the closure of their factory in Norwich. The site will be shutting down in 2019 once all preparations have been made to move the production elsewhere. While there will be some loss of jobs with this closure, it does mean that there will be new food manufacturing jobs opening up at their other branches, particularly the site in Rugby.
Two of Britvic’s leading brands, Pepsi Max and Refresh’d, ended 2017 on a very good note. Pepsi Max in particular received a record market share according to figures compiled by Nielsen Scantrack. Meanwhile, Pepsi Maxi Cherry came out as the leading flavoured cola across the off-trade. Pepsi Max is also the biggest low sugar cola choice across the convenience and impulse sectors.
Robinsons Refresh’d was reported as the number one new soft drinks product to have been launched in 2017. It hit a retail sales value of more than £7.4 million by the end of the year.
It looks as though Britvic are set to storm 2018 with big sales and big improvements, which could allow them to push even further forward for 2019.