Avara Foods, a UK-based poultry processor, is spending GBP11m (US$14.2m) to fit out a plant in the English Midlands region with new technology and equipment aimed at increasing productivity.

The investment at the site in the town of Brackley, Northamptonshire, will centre on equipping a new packing hall to improve “product throughput”, including conveyors and automated handling systems, along with an upgrade to employee facilities. The project will create 60 jobs, adding to the existing 750 workforce.

Avara supplies chicken, turkey and duck products to the retail and foodservice channels. It was formed in 2018 when the then Faccenda Foods entered a 50-50 joint venture with the UK chicken division of US-based agri-food giant Cargill. 

CEO Andy Dawkins said the investment is the first of GBP100m planned over the next three years to improve Avara’s production facilities.

“Where others in the market are delaying the implementation of plans for growth due to uncertainty around Brexit, we’re forging ahead with a comprehensive capital investment programme in which we plan to spend over GBP100m on improving our British operations over the next three years, solidifying our position as a leader in poultry processing,” Dawkins said.

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By GlobalData

Back in May, Avara said it was weighing up the future of its duck processing business Cherry Valley Foods based at Caistor in the east England county of Lincolnshire. It cited external market conditions and European competition as factors. 

“While not causes in themselves, recent developments with Brexit and Covid-19 have exacerbated the situation, particularly the significant drop in sales volumes as a result of catering and foodservice closures,” Avara said at the time.

A spokesperson for Avara provided an update to just-food on the Cherry Valley proceedings. “The consultation process concluded this summer, with the site now operating on a limited basis only with a small number of colleagues as we run down the last of our duck stock.”