The Northants Advanced Processing Centre, in Kettering, will aim to ensure security of supply and support 17,000 food-manufacturing jobs across the region.
It was officially opened by Sir Jim Paice, former Defra minister of state for agriculture and MP for south-east Cambridgeshire, along with His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch who sold the site to Camgrain for the development.
Paice said: “This is exactly the type of investment that farmers need to undertake to build sustainable businesses for the long-term. It’s what farmer co-operatives around the world have done and we need more projects like this.”
The development has been welcomed by Sainsbury’s, which is a major customer of Camgrain and Openfield. Earlier this year British Baker reported that Sainsbury’s was to fund a new research project with Camgrain, in a bid to improve efficiencies and quality.
Charlotte Rhodes, business unit director of fresh food at Sainsbury’s, said: “I’m excited to be part of today’s opening, particularly as it comes at a time when British farmers have had such a challenging couple of seasons. We already source around 90,000 tonnes of milling wheat through Openfield and Camgrain each year, which means we can be 100% on the British wheat flour in our in-store bakeries.”
The West Midlands accounts for 20% of the UK’s biscuit production and over 30% of the breakfast cereal production, according to Camgrain. There are also eight major wheat processing plants within a 30-minute radius of the new facility.