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Alpro has ramped up its capacity amid surging demand for vegan milk. Its latest £17 million investment in a new high-speed production line at its Kettering facility in the UK will help it churn over 300 million litres of plant-based milk per year.
Iconic dairy-free brand Alpro has just doubled down on production, investing £17 million in a new high-speed manufacturing line at its Kettering plant, which it has operated since 2000. The investment is part of the Danone-owned brand’s plan to pour a total of £41 million into the site as it races to keep up with consumer demand for plant-based milk.
The high-speed line will help the plant churn out 300 million litres of Alpro’s range of soy, oat, almond, cashew, hazelnut and coconut milk, with the figure to be pushed to 400 million litres by 2022.
Expanding production capacity
Aside from bringing in a high-speed production line, Alpro has installed a combined cooling, heat and power unit (CCHP), which can generate all three at the same time from the combustion of gas. This helps to reduce energy consumption at the plant, which runs on 100% renewable sources.
The company has also introduced a water treatment plant to slash water waste. From now, around 218 cubic metres of water can be reused on site every single day—that’s the equivalent of more than an Olympic-sized swimming pool per week.
Alpro’s investment will bring 25 new jobs at the Kettering facility, with more roles to be opened in the future in line with demand.
Alpro says these changes have been introduced in response to not only rising consumer demand for its vegan milks in terms of sales, but shoppers’ concern about sustainable business practices, driven by the conscious consumer trend.
“As the plant-based category leader, we have been blazing a trail in sustainable production for more than 40 years,” commented Alpro general manager Sue Garfitt.
“The changes we are installing will not only accelerate the volume of products we are producing in the UK, for UK shoppers, but will also allow us to keep ahead of the curve and continue being the brand to fuel the category growth and whet the nation’s appetite for delicious and healthy plant-based products.”
Danone bets on plant-based dairy
Alpro’s production capacity expansion comes as its parent company makes clear its plant-based business strategy going forward. Danone, which also owns the labels Silk, So Delicious, and recent acquisition Follow Your Heart, recently said that vegan dairy would be the centrepiece to its $5.4 billion sales target for 2025.
In an earnings call, Danone chief Shane Grant said that new “dairy-like technology” would be rolled out across all its dairy-free labels to tap into the fast-growing vegan dairy market, which not only includes milk, but also yogurt, butter, cheese and cream.
Both Alpro and Silk have recently bolstered their range of yogurts with a new line-up of Greek-style yogurt alternatives, using oats and coconuts.
All images courtesy of Alpro.