Expansion drives growth at food processing kit manufacturer
PUBLISHED: 15:49 11 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:49 11 April 2018
The weakened pound has helped a food processing equipment manufacturer to drive growth at its Norfolk factory.
Polar Systems, based in King’s Lynn, tripled the size of its production site last year and has targeted the European shellfish, snacking and flavouring markets.
The company held an open day for current and potential customers from across the world on Tuesday as it aims to build on its burgeoning international reputation. This included a look at its most recently completed project, a near £500,000 27 metre shellfish production line which is being shipped to France.
Company founder Peter Gamble said turnover was on track to grow to around £7m, up from £6m the year before, off the back of the scaled up site and he was now taking aim at America’s snacking market. He said: “Shellfish has been a consistent driver for us but we don’t really have to sell that as we are well respected.
“Popcorn is a significant market for us and we are particularly looking at America, where we have just patented a new system.
“It is a massive market but we have to make sure we have an infrastructure out there to maintain the machines as the distances involved are not something we are used to.”
Mr Gamble said the firm was looking to build a network of agents in the US to help it establish itself there.
As part of the growth Polar Systems has increased its staff numbers from around 50 people in 2017 to 65 this year,
His son Adrian Gamble said the shellfish industry had grown in recent months helping keep the company’s order book full with work, with the European market and countries such as Denmark in particular performing well.
He said: “Over the next year we are aiming to build our reputation in the snack and flavouring industry and get our name out there so that people have that same trust in us they do for shellfish.”
The company has been involved in the cockle and whelk industry for decades and many of its products are inventions of the firm. However, Peter said the UK market had become more cautious with fewer innovative projects coming Polar’s way but this was offset by strong overseas sales. He said: “There is very little innovation going on at the moment, we used to build a lot of innovative products for businesses but there is a lot of consolidation at the minute.”