Jam factory's £1.5m investment in energy efficiency

PUBLISHED: 11:46 29 December 2018 | UPDATED: 08:45 31 December 2018

Peter Wilkin at the Energy Centre at Wilkin & Sons, Tiptree, December 2018

Peter Wilkin at the Energy Centre at Wilkin & Sons, Tiptree, December 2018 Picture: ALLAN SMITH


Creating the steam to cook the jam in the Tiptree factory has been a challenge for over 130 years. The boilers introduced by Mr Arthur Charles Wilkin in 1911 used coal, they were later replaced by oil and now the latest installation in the new Energy Centre which was unveiled by Peter Wilkin, is fuelled by gas.

The  1911 boilers at Wilkin & Sons, Tiptree
Picture: WILKIN & SONSThe 1911 boilers at Wilkin & Sons, Tiptree Picture: WILKIN & SONS

Peter Wilkin named the two new boilers Arthur and Charles as a tribute to his great grandfather, the founder of the business.

He said: “I want to thank you for your contribution to the development of this energy centre; the first time in the history of the company that all these services will be under one roof.”

Reflecting on the changing skyline he reminded everyone that chimneys are getting shorter, as in his youth the factory’s brick chimney was 120ft high, This was taken down in the 1980s when the first gas boilers were installed.

Mr Wilkin concluded: “It gives me a great deal of pleasure to declare this facility open,” as he unveiled the special plaque to mark the occasion.

Wilkins & Sons strawberry jam. Picture: Wilsins & SonsWilkins & Sons strawberry jam. Picture: Wilsins & Sons

“The construction of the new Energy Centre, behind the jam factory, has been designed to minimise the fuel we burn and reduce emissions while maximising the savings we can make by: the introduction of solar panels, innovative LED lighting, heat recovery and ultra-efficient air compressors in the new centre,” said Chris Newenham joint managing director.

“This investment marks the start of the next exciting chapter of our business.

“It represents an investment in excess of £1.5m in our future.”

Ian Clark, who had been responsible for overseeing the energy centre project said: “Our new Bosch boilers which are 97% efficient, should see carbon dioxide emission reduce by up to 350 tonnes each year. Three new energy efficient air compressors will reduce the energy required for compressed air by over 20% reducing our carbon dioxide emissions further by more than 30 tonnes every year. Heat recovery is also being evaluated to effectively utilise the heat generated from the compressed air process.

“The new energy centre is positioned to reclaim as much waste heat and steam condense as possible once the new production hall is constructed. It is not possible to quantify all of the potential savings at this stage.

“The solar panels on the energy centre roof will have an output of 60kW and an anticipated reduction in our carbon dioxide emissions of a further 30 tonnes every year.”

When the new coal fired boilers were introduced in 1911 the Wilkin family were already producing a wide range of products made with fruit grown on the farm.

Order forms from 1911 reveal an extensive list of products including: conserves, marmalades, fruit in syrup, bottled fruit for tarts, table jellies, fruit cheeses, Crystalized and Glace fruits, sauces and pickles. They refer to: “Cherry Conserve Morello: As supplied to Her Majesty the Empress of Russia.

At the time a customer wrote “I had some last year sent to Shanghai and it was excellent and not spoiled in the least by travelling.”

Today a wide range of products are made under the Tiptree brand, the most famous being the range of preserves that are made in the Tiptree jam factory and sold to homes, hotels and restaurants across the world.

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