Suffolk juice company James White Drinks invests �1.5m in beetroot plant at Ashbocking

WORK is about to start on a �1.5million beetroot plant at Ashbocking.

Suffolk fruit juice firm James White Drinks is making the major investment in an extension to its headquarters, near Ipswich, as part of a long-term plan to bring more processing in-house,

Managing director Lawrence Mallinson said 1,000 tonnes of beetroot could be processed in Ashbocking annually and that it would mean more of the crop being grown here rather than imported from Germany.

Managing director Lawrence Mallinson said the plant, which is part-funded by a �500,000 European Union grant, could press up to 1,000 tonnes of the vegetable to be used in its beetroot juice drink.

“It’s quite easy to press beetroot juice, but unfortunately it’s a very unstable product,” he said.

“The acidity needs to be altered and you have to sit on it and wait a couple of weeks.

“We’re building a warehouse which has got lots of tanks and specialist equipment for handling and processing beetroot.”

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Mr Mallinson said the plant, which should be completed in the summer, could generate two jobs at James White, which produces a range of fruit juices and currently employs about 25 people.