Minister praises work of Norfolk dessert factory

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson (right) visit Hain Daniels factory in Fakenham, getting to try t

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson (right) visit Hain Daniels factory in Fakenham, getting to try the desserts produced there. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

The environment secretary has praised the work of a Norfolk dessert factory in reducing the national dairy deficit.

Owen Paterson visited the Hain Daniels Group's site in Fakenham nine months after it unveiled its £20m investment with Sainsbury's to create chilled premium puddings.

According to Mr Paterson's department, Defra, the UK has a £1.2bn dairy deficit – with imports of ice cream exceeding the amount exported.

Visiting the site on Holt Road yesterday, Mr Paterson described the work of the Norfolk business to reverse the current economic trend and create British desserts as 'tremendous'. 'They are doing something radical to kick a hole in the dessert deficit,' he said.

'Here we have a real opportunity to make in-roads in that deficit figure.'

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It comes as Hain Daniels Group's chief executive, Jeremy Hudson, vowed to double his workforce in the next five years to meet the increased customer appetite for its chilled and frozen desserts, as well as entertaining at home.

'We hope to see a 50pc increase in the head-count on the site,' he said, 'bringing it up from the current 350 to double that over the next five years.'

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More than 100 desserts, ranging in price from £1 to £4, are produced every day in the factory, with a specialist dessert-maker who works in-house to create new recipes and train other colleagues.

Speaking at the factory, Sainsbury's buying director for packaged food, James Bailey, said the supermarket is committed to doubling its sales of British-made products by 2020.

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