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Media invite: Medway food manufacturer has the recipe for success

Date: 24/01/2008           Category: Economic Development

Media invite: Monday, 4 February, 10.30am to 11am, Food Machinery Company, Fenn Corner, St. Mary Hoo. A Medway-based food machinery manufacturer could soon find itself being the secret ingredient in the ready meal industry’s success. The Food Machinery Company, based at Fenn Corner, St Mary Hoo, Rochester, already plays a huge role in making some of the nation’s favourite ready meals - including Marks and Spencer and Heinz - by supplying food processing equipment like mixers, ovens, blenders, sandwich makers and depositors Now, thanks to a Medway Council £10,000 interest-free business loan, the company is able to expand and capitalise on this rapidly developing field. The loan will help the business expand its premises to allow it to keep up with the continuing demand for their products – the company has been appointed an agent for three Chinese manufacturers to distribute food machinery in the UK and Ireland. A new kitchen/demonstration area and funding for the production and marketing of the new ready meal machine will be a huge step to ensuring their success, as will the creation of three skilled jobs, including an apprentice who will attend college. The company has more than 29 years of experience in supplying machinery for industrial food processing but, says Company Director Mike Wilkinson, they need to continue their expansion into the fast moving world of ready meals to ensure their continued growth. He is developing, and owns the intellectual property rights to, a new machine for particle weighing and portioning for the ready meal industry. He said: “The ready meal industry in the UK is the fastest expanding field in the world; it’s a major industry and this loan will ensure we are able to retain our position in the pack. “Most people don’t think about how their ready meal got into the tray but it’s particularly complex. Where we shine above our competitors is that we can offer a complete package suited to a client’s individual needs. We often take calls from food manufacturers who want to make ready meal dishes like pasta in sauces, for example. “We look at their needs and develop a complete system that will suit their production rate. A smaller company producing, say 100 meals a day will not need the same equipment as a company making 100 meals a minute. We talk to each client and devise something that is suitable for them.” Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Strategic Development and Economic Growth Cllr Jane Chitty said: “Medway Council has been delighted to help this business on several occasions with Partners for Growth funding. “They are a great example of how manufacturing can thrive in high quality niche markets.” Partners for Growth is a funding assistance scheme designed to help small and medium sized local businesses that have an opportunity to grow and create employment, but cannot finance it all themselves. For more details about the loans, please contact Medway Council’s Economic Development Team on 01634 828878 or visit www.medwaybusiness.co.uk You can find out more about the Food Machinery Company by visiting www.foodmc.com