Lancashire-based specialist food producer European Freeze Dry has continued to expand with the recruitment of eight employees across its facilities in the UK and Denmark.
The recruitment drive follows a £1.5m investment by the company – with a manufacturing plant in Preston – to increase its manufacturing ability as the company continues to meet the growing demand for nutritious long-life ingredients, commission drying services and ready meals.
The new staff will work within the cooking and packing departments, new product development and business development.
Diana Morris, Country Manager UK for European Freeze Dry, said: “The demand for nutritious ingredients and ready meals continues to grow, as consumers want food that is not only ready to eat, but can be stored at room temperature for an extended period of time.
“We’ve been experiencing unprecedented demand for our ingredients this year. With meals having a shelf life of up to 25 years in tins and seven years in pouches, our freeze dried options can offer food security in uncertain times to all corners of Europe.
“In addition to meeting the growing demand, we continue to work with companies to bring new products to market, as our development team works on a new range of flavours and ingredients that can be freeze dried to lock in the nutrition.”
The range also continues to grow from freeze dried gourmet ingredients such as char sui pork for noodle pots through to a range of vegan proteins. At the same time, the company’s nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals range helps to meet the growing challenge of developing new and emerging health supplements.
The recruitment drive brings the total workforce to 68 across European Freeze Dry sites in Lancashire and Kirke Hyllinge in Denmark. This follows investment in additional equipment to increase production, including a third cookpot, new rotary packer and a new freeze dryer.
The company’s range of freeze dried long lasting ingredients include fruit, vegetables and seafood, including its new vegan and gourmet ranges, while the experimental kitchen allows for NPD testing for ready meals, noodle pots and baking ingredients.
The freeze drying process uses a deep vacuum under which neither ice or water can exist. The pressure from the vacuum, with a controlled amount of heat applied, causes the ice to leave the product as a vapour trail leaving a natural dried product.
The process takes on average a day to complete, carried out in a set of ‘chambers’ which can be controlled at various temperatures and time schedules depending on specific product requirements.