Butchers open raw dog food factory after outgrowing their shop

From left, Natural Dog Food Direct's Will Saville and Craig Ewing with NatWest relationship manager

From left, Natural Dog Food Direct's Will Saville and Craig Ewing with NatWest relationship manager Paul Hawkey Picture: NATWEST - Credit: Archant

A raw dog food firm has opened up its first factory in west Suffolk after outgrowing its previous base at a butcher’s shop in Bedfordshire.

From left, Natural Dog Food Direct's Craig Ewing, NatWest Relationship Manager Paul Hawkey, and Will

From left, Natural Dog Food Direct's Craig Ewing, NatWest Relationship Manager Paul Hawkey, and Will Saville of Natural Dog Food Direct Picture: NATWEST - Credit: Archant

Natural Dog Food Direct has launched the new processing plant at Grove Lane, Elmswell, near Bury St Edmunds, after bankers at Natwest decided to back the project with a six-figure funding deal.

The business - which was set up in 2017 by Bedfordshire butchers Craig and Jennifer Ewing and family friend Will Saville - currently employs 30 staff and will be boosting that number by 20 over the next two years as it ramps up production.

MORE - Town's new innovation centre 'set to provide economic boost' to areaIts previous base was at McKenzie Butchers in Kempston - said to be the largest in Bedford - which was run by the couple. It was also run from various other sites in the county.

The new processing factory will enable the business to increase production for existing customers and expand its customer base.

The firm has further ambitions and is also in the process of creating its own dog food brand which will go to market in January 2020.

Plans are under way to add healthy dog treats to its product range.

"After 18 years running McKenzie Butchers, we decided to use our experience to branch out and fill a gap in the market for raw dog food," said Mr Ewing.

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"Natural Dog Food Direct has grown exponentially and after taking on raw dog food brand Bella and Duke as a customer in 2017, we needed to invest in a facility that would allow us to increase production further.

"With the support of NatWest, we have been able to purchase the factory in Suffolk which will help us meet growing demand and enable us to bring our own brand to market.

"We hope to see this on the shelves in stores in the coming months."

Paul Hawkey, relationship manager at NatWest, said: "We have supported Craig and Jennifer with both McKenzie Butchers and their more recent business venture, Natural Dog Food Direct. The funding we have provided will allow the company to achieve its next business milestone of creating and selling its own raw dog food brand and expand its customer base further."

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