Inside huge Hello Fresh centre creating 100s of jobs

Meal kit giant Hello Fresh has opened its third national distribution centre just 12 miles from Burton. The centre will create 350 jobs within the first few months, say bosses. The site will receive fresh produce which will be packaged into personalised meal kits for customers across the UK. Hello Fresh says it is confident that The Orchard, which the centre is called, will create 350 jobs within its first few months.

The state-of-the-art building is based at the manufacturing hub, SmartParc in Spondon, Derby, and under 30 minutes’ drive from Burton. Hello Fresh UK CEO, Laurent Guillemain was at the opening of the facility and said the firm, which saw massive gains during the lockdown and the opening of the new Derbyshire centre, represented a huge investment into the business. TOP STORY: Hello Fresh hiring at site just 12 miles from Burton

He told Derbyshire Live the firm was delighted to move to area and that there are multiple reasons why. He said first of all, all the talent in the area was one of the main attractions. “Secondly, it is a great location as a hub in the centre of the UK with very good access, which is very important for us. Thirdly, there is this a fantastic building.

It is a futuristic food production hub and we really bought into the vision and the values behind this park,” he said. SmartParc has been built on the former site of Celanese, which had been a major employer for the city for much of the 20th century and was known for producing cigarette filters. Hello Fresh is the first tenant at the site with another firm set to move into the plot behind The Orchard later this year.

Kate Hancock, director of SmartParc said: “SmartParc is a new venture for food manufacturing and logistics here in Derby. We are providing specifically-built facilities for the food industry across 120 acres.” The completion of SmartParc is four years in the making, she said, although work at the Spondon site started last year.

She said: “This park is going to provide manufacturers and logistics providers with a specific place built and designed just for food manufacturing. “It is going to bring together all of those companies who can work collaboratively so smaller companies can then have the weight of a larger company because they are going to work together on the park. We are also providing fantastic sustainability options for tenants of the park, which can share energy, which would not be possible if they were setting up on their own.”

Andrew Pilsworth, the managing director of national logistics for Segro, the builder of the complex, said: “This is genuine regeneration story. This site used to employ thousands of people but has been vacant and dormant for something like 20 years. It is a genuine case of brownfield regeneration creating something that is modern and sustainable.”

Hello Fresh’s facility, The Orchard has a giant warehouse space which is chilled to 3?C to keep food as fresh as possible. In the facility there are three packing stations and it spans 118,000 square feet (equivalent to the size of one and a half football pitches).

Andrew Pilsworth, Laurent Guillemain and Kate Hancock officially opened the site.

Each packing station is dedicated to either ice, food that requires chilling or food that does not, such and vegetables and spices. Completed boxes are weightchecked before moving to giant shelving units ready to be distributed across the UK.

The company has set up a collaboration with Solid Rock Derby, a local food bank, which will receive surplus food as donations to cut down on food waste. Hello Fresh says that after an item is packed, the customer will receive their box of meals by the next day. The first delivery of produce was set to arrive at the new site today Monday, May 9.

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