Greencore recruits, spends and innovates in virus fightback

The company’s chief executive Patrick Coveney explained the plans to Food Manufacture ​as the business announced its interim results for the 26 weeks ended 26 March 2021.

Greencore was looking to expand further into salads and widen channels through which it supplied food-to-go products, he said. He explained the latter approach had been helped by securing business formerly held by Adelie Foods, which entered administration a year ago​, as well as pushing hard on winning contracts in food-to-go salads.

“There’s also been some incremental opportunity in ready meals, where we have got really good capability, particularly for Italian culinary ready meals, so we’re looking to do more there,” ​said Coveney.

Vegan and vegetarian NPD

“The area I’d highlight is the amount of new product development work we have done for vegan and vegetarian product types. We launched 700 products in the first six months of the year. Of those, 40% were vegan, vegetarian or meat-free.”

To support its expansion and strengthen its place in its core markets, Greencore had continued to invest in automation within its factories, said Coveney. Such automation would sit alongside current processes to aid production, he explained.

“The big area for us is seeing if there are parts of the sandwich assembly process that we can automate and we think there are.

We have been developing automated – typically robotic – technology to do that, but we will have those as part of our production process, which still has loads and loads of people involved in it.​”