One of the UK’s leading producers of cold pressed juice drinks is investing £1.1m into a new extension at its Chatham factory.
The Juice Executive, which supplies top organic retailers alongside hospitality and its own online brands, has completed work on a high care juice manufacturing facility that will deliver five times more capacity.
Run by 29-year-old entrepreneur Alexandra Auger, this marks the second significant phase of family investment in the firm’s 7-year history and gives it the opportunity to target new markets for its 100 different organic juices, as well as creating a dedicated allergen processing line for nut and plant-based milks.
The investment comes after a strong year of growth for the business, with own brand sales up 100% and wholesale revenue returning at record levels as the economy opens up again following lockdown.
“Sustainability is a massive driver for the markets we operate in, and the latest expansion has been completed with this firmly in mind,” explained Alexandra Auger, who formed the business seven years ago from a Stainless steel bench in her garage.
“In addition to the much-needed capacity boost, we have spent a lot of time designing a manufacturing facility for the future with our ‘Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)’ vision being to create a site that stands out now and in five, even ten years’ time.”
She continued: “We operate in the world of organic food production and sustainability is at its core, so it’s important to build that into the bigger picture of our business and customers get to see that.
“It gives consumers reassurance that we are committed to reducing our carbon emissions and being part of a bigger movement to minimise any impact we have on the environment.”
Juice Executive, which currently employs 27 staff and plans to create a further 10 jobs over the next two years, has invested in heat recovery and efficient cooling, working with specialist contractors to ensure the heat generated from its refrigeration is used to reheat office and welfare areas.
A new biodigester will turn 100% of its food waste into a water bi-product and electrical vehicle charging and green travel plans for all employees are being put in place.
“Designing a new office in the middle of a pandemic was an interesting one. It gave us a chance to really think about what it means for people,” added Alexandra.
“We’re very open to people working from home when they need to, but for me it was key that the office environment offered something better than people could get at home. Our new space includes big desks and workstations in pod layouts so different teams can work independently or collaborate depending on what they’re working on.
“We also have a variety of meeting rooms (standing as well as larger training rooms) to provide spaces for people to work on projects away from a desk. Lots of natural light, a state-of-the-art 100% fresh air ventilation system has been installed across the new extension and different welfare areas for staff to take breaks or for a change of scenery have been organised.”
Its THINK Press online brand has enjoyed a 450% rise in sales from pre-Covid levels, with the company now looking to capitalise on the desire for healthier living by launching its own fasting programmes (juicing for 5:2).
Alexandra, who has juggled running the business throughout the pandemic with bringing up her first child, concluded: “2021 is set to be our best ever year and the investment we are making now gives us the platform to build on this and go after opportunities with new retailers, increase NPD activity and achieve expansion across our successful private label operation.”
Investment in staff goes far beyond the building too, with Juice Executive recently announcing its commitment to the real living wage for all staff from August 2021, ensuring it continues to put its team at the heart of its growth strategy.