Meticulous care in small bags

Last year, the Hügli site in Redditch, UK, produced 57 million individualarticles. The reason for this high figure: The company specialises mainly inportion sachets. Besides soups and spice mixtures, they also contain many «Functional Food» products, i.e. foods that have an added value.

«If we were to line up all the portion packs that we produce in a year, the bag line would theoretically lead from our factory gate in Redditch to the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles», Chris Hurt jokingly reports. However, the Managing Director at Hügli in the UK natrurally has much better ideas for using the food produced in his factory. While soups, sauces and spices are used for pure enjoyment, a large proportion of the mixtures also fulfil additional nutritional functions. Whether they help with weight loss, compensate for illness-related deficiency symptoms or support athletes in their dietary supplementation. The practical sachets in which the company specialises enhance the high degree of convenience of the products. Whether conventional food or «Functional Food», most of the products are produced hereby the team of around 100 for the private labels of its British customers. A small proportion is also sold to wholesalers and retailers under the Hügli and Granovita brands, the Hügli brand for vegetarian and vegan food. The company was founded in 1981. Since 2008 it has belonged to Hügli, which has invested continuously in the location from the very beginning. In 2010, for example, it had an extension built to the existing building, which doubled the area available. «Functional Food» products have been part of the Redditch range from the very beginning and today account for about half of the output. Their production is very complex and requires special care.

«The nutritional profile, taste and texture must be consistent in every single package», explains Richard Bailey, Commercial Director at Hügli UK. «To ensure this, we first check the micronutrient content of the initial batch in the laboratory. The subsequent production runs are also monitored to ensure that the same quality is maintained.» In addition, special standards apply to «Functional Food» products. For example,shakes used as meal replacements are subject to certain EU standards, while the composition of sports powders must comply with the regulations of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). «Often our customers also make certain demands on the products we manufacture for them. For example, they want vegan or high-protein varieties, as well as ingredients that meet certain animal welfare standards», says Richard Bailey. Looking to the future, the «Functional Food» expert also sees further trends coming. These include ingredients such as hemp, canabidiolor collagen. In any case, Hügli is well prepared in Redditch to meet the growing demand for food with additional benefits. Last year, about 3800 tons of the various mixtures left the 9000 square meter facility. The site still has some upside potential: Up to 5000 tons of powder mixes could go down the lines here every year. And the site has also been making preparations for another important topic for some time now: «We might not find out until the last minute just what Brexit will mean for us. That’s why we’ve been working for two years now to prepare ourselves for various possible scenarios», says Chris Hurt.