Daniels Group is investing GBP8.5m (US$12.9m) in a food plant in the UK that will produce a range of fresh and frozen foods for domestic and overseas markets.

The plant, which will be based at Grimsby’s Europarc business centre, will create over 200 jobs, and open in March, the company said.

In addition to making New Covent Garden soup, the site will produce chilled ready-meals for the UK’s own-label market and a new range of frozen soups for the catering sector.

Rob Burnett, Daniels Group chief executive, said: “We chose Grimsby because the area boasts a skilled labour pool with experience of working in the chilled food industry. In addition, the Europarc centre is close to our extensive network of vegetable growers in Lincolnshire which will help to minimise food miles.

“This was an important consideration for us as we are committed to responsible environmental management in all aspects of our business.”

He added: “We are investing in the UK chilled food industry by increasing capacity and expanding the group’s capability to meet current and future demand for soup and ready meals. Our investment in Grimsby underlines the confidence we have in the future of this business in which the Europarc plant will play a major role.”

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The new factory is situated on a site previously run by Mariner Foods which closed in May 2008.

New Covent Garden soup will also continue to be produced at Daniels Group’s Peterborough site.

In addition to Grimsby, production of Daniels Group chilled ready-meals will continue at Consett, Co. Durham.

Daniels Group is owned by Singapore Food Industries.