Food production is not always about maximising volumes with larger, longer production lines. With many supermarkets and retailers offering high-end ranges, there is often a need to produce smaller quantities of bespoke lines that need more of a kitchen range than a conveyor belt.
When Fresh Meal Solutions, a division of Bakkavor group, needed just such an open plan kitchen facility for a new Marks and Spencer range, they turned to PKL for advice. They needed a flexible kitchen design for smaller quantities of bespoke, hand-crafted meals to be made by a team of chefs and kitchen staff away from the busier production areas.
The Bakkavor group manufacture 6000 products across 18 categories with over 32 facilities in the UK. They produce own-label lines for many retailers including Sainsbury’s, Asda and Waitrose. In particular, at Holbeach in Lincolnshire, 650 staff produce the own-label products for Marks and Spencer.
The new project at Holbeach, to deliver deli-counter style products for M&S, was started in Feb 2012. “PKL were very accommodating as we went through several iterations before we got it right,” said Martin Murray, project manager at Bakkavor. “They were very flexible with a number of last minute changes that we required.”
To make the range, that includes moussaka, chicken schnitzel and fresh pasta sauces, the kitchen included gas hob ranges, fryers, several steam and roast ovens as well as prep areas. As the UK’s leading supplier of both permanent and temporary kitchen solutions, PKL offer designs and equipment based on either a sales or contract rental agreement. For this particular new project and layout, the Bakkavor group settled on a hire agreement to allow even more flexibility. Installation started in September with deliveries of the new products going out in November.
With the help of the open plan kitchen design from PKL, as well as the existing manufacturing areas, meals can be produced in both hundreds and thousands a day depending on the customer’s needs. Sometimes, small really is beautiful.
Large scale test and development kitchen facility
To provide extra production space for a fixed period of time for new contract