'Natural wholegrain' food firm goes for growth with ambitious plans for new home
PUBLISHED: 07:45 03 December 2019
An historic food ingredients firm supplying UK bread bakers has submitted ambitious plans to build a new factory site.
With basic repair and maintenance costs at Edme's current site in Mistley, near Manningtree, soaring to £763k a year, the company is hoping to building a new, modern facility at Horsley Cross, which lies four miles away.
The 15,350sq m development would rise to up to 21.7m at its highest point. a second phase would add around 18,000sq m.
MORE - Edme boss sees scope to work closely with supply chain - and customers
At its current site, the firm occupies just under 13,000sq m but much of the existing floorspace can't be used - and it's becoming more and more costly and difficult to meet food safety and health and safety legislation in its dated maltings premises.
The company, which exports around 23% of what it makes, employs 55 staff - and expects that to grow. But it is struggling on the current site, and wants to expand, a report to Tendring District Council planners says.
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Edme make significant exports, equal to 23% of sales, and employs 55 staff.
"The current site is no longer suitable for either modern food manufacturing or the development of a skilled workforce able to take the track record of innovation into the future," agents Lambert Smith Hampton said.
"Edme operates within a competitive market - net margins are under 6%. Growth and employment prospects are dependent on both introducing new products for the bakery trades and in devising ever more economical means of converting basic raw materials into high value foodstuffs. Edme has very good track record of maintaining current business and exploiting new business opportunities. Such a redevelopment needs to address the fundamental unsuitability of the site for 21st Century industrial activity.
Edme has evolved from a maltster to a malt extract works for the drinks trade, to a processor of dry goods for the food industry, processing around 35,000 tonnes a year. Its key market is bread bakery, and while this market has been static for the past few years, the latest forecast suggests it will grow by 7% by 2022. "This growth is driven by the sector of the market in which EDME operates, ie, 'bread with bits'. Supported by the trends for health, provenance and ancient grains EDME is very well placed to exploit these growth trends," the agents' report says.
Edme managing director Mark Hodson said: "The growing demand for natural wholegrain - and premium gluten-free - ingredients means that we are looking to increase production capacity for EDME. It is challenging to do this on our current site. We have therefore submitted a planning application to develop production facilities at Horsley Cross, just four miles from Mistley, and still within the borough of Tendring.
"It will take some time for the application to be processed by the planners - no changes to current location and operations are imminent. We will keep our neighbours and the local community informed as and when there are any significant updates."