NWF opens new Merston Factory
February 15th, 2012
The factory stands on the site of the old Second World War airbase RAF Merston and provides 7500m2 of manufacturing space, dedicated to producing prepared fruit products and salad meals. The factory will enable NWF to satisfy the ever growing demand for fresh, high quality prepared fruit and salad in a new state of the art facility and also gives NWF the capacity to manufacture ‘high risk’ protein based products.
Providing approximately a 200% increase in capacity for the business, the factory design maximises process innovation, with manufacturing efficiency and control. For example, the specialised temperature storage areas allow for precise handling of a wide variety of produce; new chilling and processing techniques, alongside precise control of the factory environment, all help to deliver a step change in the quality and freshness that NWF is able to deliver to the consumer.
Gary Kilhams, Factory Manager explains, “The new site has transformed our fruit and salad meals processing abilities. The opportunities now available to innovate, with both products and process is extremely exciting.”
Designed with the environment in mind, the roof has a special curve to blend into the skyline and surrounding landscape, and is silver in colour to reflect heat and reduce energy costs. A special roof drainage system has been created to capture rain water and channel it into neighbouring wildlife ponds, and as with the factory, the office air-conditioning system also reclaims heat. The building also incorporates full height windows, which maximise natural light into the high care areas.
At the front of the building, the two storey office section provides management and administration space, including a bespoke Innovation kitchen and a 100 seat canteen for employees, with panoramic views of the South Downs.
Richard Parr, Operations Director explains, “We are very proud of our new Merston facility and believe we have created a unique facility that is both innovative, green, a great place for our people to work and puts NWF at the forefront of fresh produce manufacturing.”