berry.jpgIn today’s economic climate, it is proving all the more difficult to escape the impact of a looming credit crunch, and rising costs are becoming an increasing reality for many businesses. For companies producing and packaging their own goods, it would make little sense in the current financial market to provide funds for developing, or even constructing production plants. A string of small-time food manufacturers with failed products in the big brand dominated market, and an even longer list of UK factories announcing closures and job cuts are providing the answer to the impact the credit crunch is having on industry not only in the UK, but also globally.

Family-run contract packing firm Framptons Ltd is helping many companies to reduce the cost of labour and capital expenditures, whilst offering a world of expertise in the packaging of liquid food and beverage products. Outsourcing packaging has a long list of benefits and undoubtedly the greatest advantage is diminishing the need for brand owners to own and run a production plant. Running factories is a major business and can result in hefty costs, including a significant workforce and machinery and energy overheads.

sogood.jpgFramptons, based in Somerset, was founded over 100 years ago as an egg packing firm. Over the past century, the business has grown from being a market leader in the production of liquid egg products to expert contract packers. The company has utilised their existing expertise in the processing of egg and diary products and applied it to processing other liquid foods and beverages. With a number of big name brands under its belt, including So Good, Pomegreat, Delamere Dairy and The Berry Company, the business specialises in packing fruit juices, smoothies, wine, dairy and egg products.

The majority of packaging used are gable top or aseptic cartons, which are becoming increasingly beneficial at a time when manufacturers, buyers and consumers are concentrating on sustainability. Compared to plastic packaging, cartons have a considerably reduced impact on the environment. For every tree that is felled to create packaging for cartons, two are planted in its place, and with the materials being lightweight, they create lower energy usage, transport costs and emissions. And with more and more councils in the UK offering carton recycling, stocking cartons as opposed to plastic bottles is becoming all the more worthwhile.

Framptons believe that as a family business, the personal level of service offered to customers is second to none. The ability to work closely with clients and meet their specific needs means that costs are not lost in shaky trial runs and product development, with the help of an in-house team compromising technical, engineering and new product development specialists.

Framptons Operations’ Director Will Martin said: “Whereas many large companies may allow their customers to get lost in the system, at Framptons we very much keep in close contact with every single one of our customers.

“We offer a more personal service, which is flexible and reliable. As a family-run business we are keen to keep our ethos of a friendly and dedicated approach.”

It is unfortunate that each week we seem to hear of yet another factory closing its doors, and hundreds of jobs lost due to the poor economy and rising prices of fuel and food. With three factory closures announced in Somerset alone in the past month, the future is not looking bright for some manufacturers. A recent report by US bank Goldman Sachs indicates that the credit crunch will cost £60bn globally.

pomegreat-on-line.jpgThe benefits of outsourcing processing and packing in such a turbulent economic climate have also been backed by Rodney Steel, Chief Executive of the British Contract Manufacturers and Packers Association. Speaking in July on a day when The British Chambers of Commerce’s (BCC) announced that an economic recession for UK firms is imminent, Mr Steel commented: “If there is a downturn then firms are perhaps more likely to outsource work than want to take on extra staff or invest in new equipment.”

As a stable and established business, Framptons remain strong at this time of economic weakness. However, many businesses will not be so fortunate, and will no longer be able to update and improve their own production plants, leading to more and more companies seeking to outsource the manufacturing and packaging of their products.

Framptons can help food and beverage companies save costs on new product development, the sourcing of ingredients, technical and traceability specifications, and skilled engineers to produce pilot plant machinery. Their solutions for the manufacturing of food products provide a sensible solution at a time when finances must be carefully budgeted.

Mr Martin explains: “We do all the complex and difficult work for our customers, whilst they focus on more core competencies such as advertising, marketing, and ensuring their product gains its place on supermarket shelves both nationally and internationally.

“Our expertise in food manufacturing is spread across the board rather than focusing on a single product, whereas a brand owner’s factory is likely to have expertise in packing one particular product.

“This in turn reduces costs for the brand owner, who spends less money on training staff, researching new machinery, and maintaining a high volume of product necessary to make running the plant worthwhile. It also allows us to invest in new technologies and machinery.”
Whilst Gordon Brown at the G8 Summit in Japan in July urged consumers to stop wasting food to help deal with the credit crunch, Framptons are also reducing wastage produced at their production plant.

Sustainability is a key factor to the business, which has pledged to send zero waste to landfill by 2012. This is not only helping the company and its clients deal with the credit crunch by minimising any unnecessary wastage from products and reducing the need to spend money on sending waste to landfill, but is also reducing the company’s impact on the environment.

Framptons Ltd
Tel: 01749 341000

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