Plamil set for major vegan chocolate production expansion after key investment
UK-based Plamil vegan confectionery business has made a key investment in its Kent-based facilities to enabling a doubling of its production volumes, as it continues to grow its global presence, reports Neill Barston.
The 1000 ton increase for its refining operations includes a £1 million injection into advanced processing equipment at its headquarters in Folkestone, Kent, where it stands as one of the original pioneers of the vegan market in the 1960s.
Notably, the company supplies many key brands and manufacturers, and the extra capacity has been created to meet the foreseen increase in demand of the ongoing trend to ‘all things plant based’ with vegan chocolate, compounds and coatings used by manufacturers as an ingredient.
The family-run business led by CEO Adrian Ling, known widely as the industry’s ‘Vegan Willy Wonka’, who has gained decades of experience within the sector, taking on the business from his father who was among the founders of veganism in the UK.
He enthused: ‘We are very proud of the inward investment we have made, enabling us to meet better existing customers demands’ but to also develop and work with customers in creating formulations and formats which solve specific requirements.”
The new refinery is highly automated, but has also been commissioned with the goal of minimising environmental impact for its production volumes. Consequently, it chose a processing system which reduces carbon footprint by using less power consumption per kg of chocolate, from renewably sourced electricity. This almost entirely eliminates water consumption in the process.
The UK-business has continued to expand its portfolio in recent years, including the launch of its So Free bar range. As its CEO recently explained to Confectionery Production, the business has experienced ‘exponential online growth’ during the pandemic, which has prompted it to expand its portfolio including its new Plamilla vegan-friendly hazelnut spread.