A world of expansion plans for Chatteris food factory

Produce World. Chatteris. Picture: Steve Williams.

Produce World. Chatteris. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Plans to extend storage at a Chatteris food factory will help a local farmers’ co-operative develop and cut ‘food miles’.

Produce World Ltd, a privately owned family business with a turnover of £180 million a year, wants to build 21,000 sqm of processing and packaging facilities and a further 13,000 sqm of general industrial, storage and distribution space on farming land adjoining its premises off Fenton Way.

A planning statement by agents Maddox and Associates Ltd states: “Produce World has identified a need to upgrade their existing operations and secure their future in a highly competitive market. Part of this upgrade comprises new premises with modernised factories.”

It points out the business has become one of the largest expert growers and suppliers of high quality vegetables in Europe, growing vegetables on over 20,000 acres through a mixture of their own farms, joint ventures and working with other farmers, many of whom are in the fens themselves.

A letter of support submitted by Greenshoots Ltd, a growers co-operative based in Chatteris and comprises seven members who are the main growers and suppliers of onions to Produce World, explains how important the application is to them.

The letter signed by Marc Heading, Greenshoots chairman, points out the new store will allow the co-operative to replace old inefficient stores and rented facilities as well as providing “organic business expansion”.

It is intended the growth will replace onions currently sourced by Produce World from other growers in Suffolk and Bedfordshire.

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“Siting the store next to the factory where the crop will be packed will significantly reduce ‘food miles’ by eliminating a journey from field to store and then from store to Produce World. This helps contribute to Greenshoots being a low cost producer in an ever more competitive global grocery market,” writes Mr Heading.

He concludes: “With the same volume of produce already being delivered to the Produce World site from Greenshoots and other growers there will be no significant increase in overall traffic. This building is essential to the development of the co-operative and its members as well as embedding the food cluster in this area.”