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Birdseye reveals its secrets for growing 750,000 bags of perfect peas each week

PUBLISHED: 11:06 30 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:07 30 October 2019

Andy Cole of Birdseye Peas, featured on ITV4's Made in Britain, which airs tonight (Wednesday 30) at 8.30pm. Photo: ITV

Andy Cole of Birdseye Peas, featured on ITV4's Made in Britain, which airs tonight (Wednesday 30) at 8.30pm. Photo: ITV

Archant

A leading employer in Suffolk which creates a UK frozen food staple is spilling its secrets for success in a behind-the-scenes reveal all.

Birds Eye employs more than 500 staff at its factory in Lowestoft, making up a significant proportion of the total workforce, who put frozen fish, vegetables, burgers, and ready meals on millions of dinner tables all over the nation.

When it comes to its peas, the company has worked out a tight system for growing, picking, freezing and packaging as many as two billion 80g bags a year - an astonishing 750,000 bags every week.

On this week's episode of ITV4's Made in Britain, a show celebrating British manufacturing, from the mass-produced to the hand-crafted, cameras will go behind the scenes at the firm to show how the products are grown and harvested.

The show reveals there is only a 12-hour window to harvest the peas in order to "capture the sweetness and texture that makes Birds Eye famous for its peas the world over".

In that narrow time frame, the company picks and freezes an entire field of peas in Hull, packing an astonishing one to three tonnes, or three million individual peas, into lorries, which then race to Lowestoft.

Before the batch is allowed into the factory the peas go to a testing centre, and if they don't taste right the whole batch is rejected.

The peas then go through a cleaning process to rid the cargo of stray pods, before being blanched in hot water and frozen in what the company calls "one of the largest pea tunnels in the world" at minus 25 to 30 degrees.

They are then packed in Lowestoft and 750,000 bags are shipped from the factory each week, ending up on your plate.

Made in Britain is narrated by actor and comedian Ricky Tomlinson. As well as peas, this week viewers can discover how a Second World War Spitfire was made into a pen, see Britain's top amplifier manufacturer Marshall in full volume and find out how Farrow and Ball paint is produced.

Made in Britain is on Wednesday at 8pm on ITV4.

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