International food and drink group Princes has completed the first phase of a planned £17m investment in its Bradford site in Toftshaw with the opening of a new state of the art, squash bottling line at the facility.
The line was officially opened with a small ceremony attended by Princes Group Chairman Manabu Oda and Managing Director Cameron Mackintosh.
The new line is capable of handling varying sizes from 750ml to 1.5 litres, with capacity to produce up to 36,000 bottles per hour. Six different bottle formats are planned to be commissioned by the end of December.
Light weighting bottles is a permanent activity within Princes, and this new line will allow the business to further reduce the weight of its bottles, removing approximately 300 tonnes of plastic from Princes supply chain every year.
Princes has made several recent announcements relating to the recycled content of the plastic it uses, with the shrink wrap packaging on its UK manufactured food and drinks moving to 50 percent post-consumer recycled waste (PCRW) by the end of this year. This followed confirmation that the business is using 51 percent recycled PET in all of its soft drinks and oils and 30 percent High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) in chilled juice drinks.
Bradford is the largest UK soft drinks production site in Princes’ portfolio, producing customer own brand still and carbonated soft drinks across a variety of flavours and pack formats.
The site employs over 400 people and is a Princes centre of excellence for fruit squash and manufactures products under the Jucee, Geebee and Wells brands. It also produces a wide range of customer own brand squash products including cordials, premium high juice and squash drinks.
Princes is committed to developing talent for its future, and twelve operator and eight engineering colleagues at Bradford have embarked on an intensive training course as part of the commissioning and performance testing process for the new equipment.
“Our new line at Bradford is delivering increased production, state of the art equipment and better energy efficiency to the site, and is a major part of our commitment to UK manufacturing and providing long-term, high quality employment opportunities in the area,” said Andy Hargraves, Group Director for Soft Drinks at Princes. “This investment is also a further example of the strong position we have on the recycled content in our drinks business, as part of our shared responsibility to reduce, re use and recycle all types of plastic.”