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Cobell increases capacity to meet demand

29 March 2012

With customers demanding increased quantities of blended fruit products to exacting standards, to be incorporated into their ever expanding ranges of food & drink products, Cobell, a supplier of processed fruit concentrates, juices and purees, is developing specialist support solutions to complement its global operation

A recent development has been the installation of three new bulk storage tanks at its Exeter facility as part of an ongoing expansion programme, to improve its capacity to receive, blend, package and reload product.

An all new 25,000 litre tank means that Cobell can now receive or ship a full road tanker load of product while two additional 12,000 litre tanks mean it can blend larger quantities of fruit based ingredients to exactly meet customer needs. Each of the new hi-spec, stainless steel tanks, as with all of Cobell’s processing and packaging facilities, meet stringent hygiene standards, and incorporate the latest technologies.

These include efficient impellers to thoroughly mix the ingredients without damage; state-of-the-art treatment processes to ensure the blended fruit products arrive at point of use in optimum condition; and thorough clean-down solutions to maintain the integrity of each production run.

“We’ve trebled capacity in just 24-months and project a 50% increase on shipments this year,” explained Andrew Clark, Cobell’s Technical & Operations Director. “We source high quality processed fruit ingredients from prominent suppliers from around the world, import them into the UK, blend, re-pack and then ship them to our growing customer base.

“Our new processing and storage tanks now allow us to receive stock in bulk quantity, blend larger consignments to meet customer requirements and package them more efficiently. This means we can now economically provide bespoke product development from trial to production quantities right through to bulk volume.”

Having blended fruit and other ingredients to the customers’ exacting recipe it is then either chilled or frozen for shipment and storage or packed in a variety of aseptic containers, making it ambiently stable, typically for up to six months. The aseptic, pasteurised packing line has also just been upgraded to enable up to three metric tonnes per hour to be processed.

Package sizes include a range of 3, 5, 10 and 20 litre bags in boxes, jerry cans, 200 litre drums, 1,000 litre bag-in-'pallecon' plus bulk container loads, all designed to conveniently meet customer shipping, storage and usage needs.

With a growing number of artisan food manufacturers coming from sectors that include confectionery, deserts and specialist drinks, Cobell’s experienced in-house product development services team are another real differentiator.

Welcoming any challenge to use their experience they can help create innovative and balanced recipes by ensuring that the perfect texture, flavour, colour, acidity and blend can be developed to match each client’s specific market needs. Price is also a critical factor, particularly in the current climate, so the technical experts help cost engineer ingredients to ease the pressure on manufacturers’ profit margins.

As a BRC accredited company Cobell prides itself on the quality of its products and the efficiency and speed of its overall service. Its sample lead times are amongst the quickest in the industry with a next day delivery available. It can also operate 24-hour a day shifts to meet production needs as required. But despite this exceptional growth, Cobell has never lost sight of what’s important to every client – a first class, tailor-made service, delivered to exacting standards.

Product provenance is extremely and equally important, with facilities to provide Organic status under Soil Association accreditation and Fairtrade for example, together with specific varieties or regional procurement for subtle variances. These can help differentiate a new product and give an authentic twist, enabling manufacturers to target new consumer markets.

Today Cobell stocks and distributes a comprehensive range of fruit and vegetable juice concentrates, not from concentrate juices, purees, preparations and blends, sourced from some of the world’s most prestigious fruit processors. At any one time it holds up to £2 million of ambient, chilled or frozen stock in the UK, in a wide range of pack sizes, all ready for quick next day delivery. Further expansion is scheduled in 2012 to further satisfy growing customer demand, with a chilling option being considered along with several extended repackaging options.


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