This is where it all began. Our business started as a co-operative of local farmers selling potatoes. The name came from the ‘Fen’ area where we were based and ‘Marcham’ which was the name of another farmers co-operative with the same members.
We’ve always been at the cutting edge of technology, and our first computer system, which consisted of cards with magnetic strips, was introduced in this year.
The site at Elm, which became our prep veg facility, was purchased from Hannam & Davey, a small veg processing business. We started off supplying food manufacturing businesses with all kinds of ingredients from peeled potatoes to sliced chillies.
We made a big leap in this year, launching prep veg into our first retailer. We only supplied one product – carrot, cauli and broccoli – which was packed by hand.
We gradually increased our retail range and started to reduce our food manufacturing business. A management buy-out took place with Mark Harrod becoming the majority shareholder. And this was the year we had our first ever BRC audit.
As our retail business continued to grow we needed to install some additional production lines so we embarked on major development of the factory, including lifting the roof.
By now we were only supplying retailers, and were producing over one million packs in our peak weeks.
We developed a four-year plan to expand the site to be able to cope with future volumes, and completed the first part of this, an extension to our despatch area, more than doubling our existing space.
We’d also outgrown our office and welfare facilities so moved into new facilities in the summer.
This year saw a big change in our business when the wholehead potato and veg sites were sold, and the second phase of our site expansion was completed – an extension to the goods in area of the factory.
The final part of the site expansion plan was completed, with a large extension to the main production area that included the installation of three new production lines.
We started work on our five-year plan to upgrade our packing lines to the latest tech, improving output, accuracy and costs. The first phase was replacing three manual lines with a high-speed tray packing line.
We completed the next phase of our upgrade plan and installed the first part of a project to replace five of our bagging lines with the latest weighing and bagging technology.
This was also the year we made the decision to switch to 100% renewable energy from the grid to help reduce our carbon impact.
The 5-year plan continued as we replaced another manual tray packing line with an additional automated line. We installed our first end of line packing robot, following many months of development work with the supplier to meet our unique requirements.
We achieved our five-year plan a year earlier than planned, with the commissioning of the second phase of our bagging line replacement project and installation of further end of line robots.
I’ve been here since 1998, and really feel that Fenmarc is a great place to work, because they care about their colleaguesJackie, Accounts Assistant and Credit Controller
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