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New Cereal Plant Opened Near Hungerford

Main Image 09 October 2018 | Focus

Doves Farm Foods have opened a new breakfast cereal plant, creating 25 new jobs.

The site, near Hungerford, will produce gluten-free cereals, and has been constructed as part of the company’s plant to return their production facilities from Italy to the UK.

New production site

The plant covers an area of 1,858 m2, and is situated near Hungerford on the border between Wiltshire and Berkshire. It has already begun processing on a smaller scale, but once it is up to full capacity, it will be able to product around 2,000t of product per year.

The facility requires 25 food workers to run it, taking on various roles around the site. It will be able to produce extruded shapes, flakes and granola, for ranges which are gluten-free and also milk-free. The factory will produce Dove Farm’s Fibre Flakes, Corn Flakes, Cereal Flakes, and Chocolate Stars, using newly reformulated manufacturing processes and recipes.

“It is currently dedicated to producing cereals for our Freee by Doves Farm brand,” said a company spokesperson. “We do a lot of business to business with bakeries and other food manufacturers, so there is a real possibility of providing contract manufactured cereals or private label.”

The gluten-free cereal category has seen significant growth over the last 10 years, with consumer need on the rise. The trend for healthier lifestyles has coincided with coeliacs looking for tastier options – all part of the expansive and inclusive food movement that is also providing more options for vegans, vegetarians, and lactose-intolerant customers.

The plant’s construction was begun in December 2015. As soon as it is completed, Doves Farm Foods will move their cereal production from Italy and back to the UK.

Supporting British enterprises

The factory is set to be a shrine of sorts for British manufacturing, showcasing the company’s new determination to work on home soil only. UK-manufactured toasters and dryers have been installed in the plant to ensure that every part of the process is as British as possible.

“Consumer interest in gluten-free breakfast cereals with added health and eco benefits and ‘buying British’ has risen massively in recent months,” said the founder of Doves Farm, Clare Marriage. As a leader in the gluten-free breakfast cereal category and a family-owned British business, we are keen to grow our presence and impact in this area and know the new plant will give us the chance to do this, whilst allowing us to continue to offer great quality breakfast cereals that are now suitable for an even wider range of diets and allergy sufferers.”

While the production may now be becoming more and more British, the customers of Doves Farm spread across a total of 26 countries. These are predominantly European. There are two brands which come under the umbrella of the business: Doves Farm and Freee by Doves Farm, a rigorously tested gluten-free range. This includes 62 products at last count, such as cereals, flours, oat bars, cookies, and even pasta.

There has not yet been any announcement as to how or when they will begin the food recruitment process, but the plant will surely need more workers in order to open to full capacity. This will allow the company to complete their transitional process, which likely means some jobs will be lost when they cease production at their Italian site.

While gluten-free food and British production may be trends, it’s worth noting that those who follow these trends probably wouldn’t be best pleased about them being treated as such. With the consumer reaction to Brexit, as well as the need for allergy-proof foods, buyers want solid choices – not fads.

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