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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

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Carlisle food firm expansion will create 50 jobs

Calder Foods has drawn up plans to double production, creating around 50 jobs over the next five years.

Calder Foods photo
Calder Foods's Chris McClelland, Lee Fizell and Nigel Harrison at the new building

The business – which makes sandwich fillings, salads, chutneys, humus, salsas and sauces – has invested £1.5m to expand its site at Burgh Road Industrial Estate, Carlisle.

It has acquired the vacant former Speediserve unit close to its existing facility, which has been completely refurbished to provide an 800-pallet freezer and cold store, plus offices.

This has freed up space to expand production.

Calder Foods was set up 20 years ago by Paul Barker and his brother-in-law Nigel Harrison, who are joint managing directors.

It employs 150 people, all but eight of them in Carlisle, and produces 140 tonnes of sandwich fillings each week.

Turnover this year is on target to exceed £20m.

Mr Barker said: “We are part of the food-to-go industry, which contributes £6bn a year to the UK economy. In that context, we are not massive but we are a growing business.

“We have a five-year commercial plan to double production, creating another 50 jobs.

“This new facility gives us the capacity to do that and create more employment in the city we love – we are all Carlisle people.”

The company is currently recruiting four apprentices.

It is already using the new warehouse and staff are about to move into the offices. The two sites combined offer 60,000sq ft of floorspace, equivalent in size to a large supermarket.

Calder Foods began trading at Harraby Green Business Park, moved to Burgh Road Industrial Estate in 2002 and expanded there in 2008.

Customers in Cumbria include hospitals and secondary schools – supplied through Pioneer Foods – and wholesale cash-and-carry outlets such as Booker and Makro.

Nationally, it supplies convenience retailers such as Nisa, education authorities and wholesalers.

The business was awarded a £169,000 grant last year to help its expansion plans.

The money came from a pot of aid for small firms that Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) secured from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.

It had intended to use the cash to set up a £700,000 production facility at Townfoot Industrial Estate in Brampton, to make mayonnaise, sauces and dips.

However, it adapted the plan when the unit at Burgh Road Industrial Estate became available.

Carlisle MP John Stevenson toured Calder Foods last Friday.

He was accompanied by Skills Minister Matthew Hancock, who used the visit to make a policy announcement on expanding the Government’s traineeship programme.

Mr Stevenson said: “It is great to see home-grown talent prosper in this way.”

The Conservative MP added: “The confidence of local businesses is an indication that the Carlisle economy is recovering. It’s a welcome sign.”

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