Fairfields Farm in Colchester, which prides itself on its hand-cooked crisps using home-grown potatoes, has opened a new manufacturing unit after a substantial investment which promises crisps made with the lowest possible food miles.Fairfields Farm has been growing and harvesting potatoes across 500 acres of the Essex countryside for generations and launched its first brand of crisps, Fairfields Farm Crisps in 2006, followed by its second, Jackpots, in 2010.
With the opening of its new factory, it has become one of very few crisp companies in the UK growing its own potatoes and manufacturing them all on one site.
Robert Strathern, third-generation potato farmer and owner of Fairfields Farm Crisps and Jackpots said: “A few crisp companies grow their own potatoes but I know of very few that both grow the potatoes and make their own crisps using locally produced authentic natural flavours and we believe that this a unique selling point in our marketplace.
“We've only been producing crisps since 2006, but we always hoped to open our own manufacturing unit. It's hard to believe it's finally happened.”
The concept for the factory began in January 2011 and the first crisps were made on site in March of this year. “The new plant means we can now harvest, wash, grade and pack our potatoes, and manufacture our crisps within only a few metres of our fields,” said Strathern. “It'd be hard to find a packet of crisps with lower food miles!
“The factory also gives us much greater control over the flavour and quality of our crisps and will allow us to develop new flavours much more quickly in the future, helping us to bring new products to the market with greater frequency.”
The new £1m investment has also allowed the firm to employ 14 new members of staff from factory and packing personnel, to telesales and accounting.