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Sat June 12 2021

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Innocent to build carbon-neutral factory

27 Mar 20 Juice and smoothie brand Innocent is ready to start construction of US$250m (£210m) carbon-neutral factory in Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Food and drink capital investment specialist IFP is working with the London-based drinks manufacturer, which is will build ‘the blender’ factory in the Port of Rotterdam’s new Food Hub. Once complete, the factory will create 190 jobs and produce over 400 million bottles of chilled juice a year.

Innocent – which has been seeking ways to bring the manufacturing network closer together – wanted to bring its operations largely in-house, step-changing its impact on the environment by taking miles off the road and reducing the carbon footprint of the manufacturing process.     

The move means the company can reduce road miles travelled by around 25%, since most of the fruit arrives by shipping container to the Port of Rotterdam. The blender will also use as little water as possible, and reduce, reuse and recycle waste that is created.

IFP secured its contract with Innocent in 2018 and went on to deliver an evaluation study to establish the concept as well as a delivery programme along with studies of the costs:benefits and the viability of Innocent creating a new manufacturing facility.

One of the biggest challenges facing the two teams was navigating the shifting landscape around sustainability, as Matt Carr, managing director at IFP, explained: “Carbon neutrality is a moving target, so while green diesel and biomass energy were considered green fuels as recently as 2017, today they are not. This meant we needed to future-proof this factory, so that innocent would continue to uphold the high sustainability standards it had set out to achieve.”

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He added: “We like to work in this way, becoming fully integrated in the client’s business so we can understand their goals and challenges. It works really well – there is a fantastic project atmosphere and communication across the teams.”

Chris Fielden, group supply chain director at Innocent, said: “Designing, building and operating a sustainable factory starts with a very dedicated and aligned team of partners with a shared vision on sustainability, targeting water, energy and waste reduction. Integrated Food Projects is an invaluable partner for us, as alongside engineering expertise, the team is able to provide independent consultancy on how the new factory should operate and where it should be built.

“We worked with the Integrated Food Projects team throughout the evaluation and initial building process, and their input was central in our goal of delivering a site that operated as a sustainable, environmentally friendly factory.

The blender is scheduled to open in mid-2021.  

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