Innovation: you saw it here first

New technologies and innovations are key to unlocking business growth.


Change is a positive and constant force for good in Natures Way Foods. So is our dedication to fresh ideas, fresh thinking and innovation.

We have recently set up a cross functional Business Innovation Team specifically to investigate clever new solutions to perennial challenges in the fresh produce industry, such as maintaining product quality, improving productivity, increasing automation and lengthening shelf life. We are taking a consumer led approach i.e. understanding the consumer issue in a number of areas and then applying innovation principles to create new thinking and game changing approaches.

Having a flexible approach to a business problem means embracing new technologies and processes both in and outside of the food manufacturing industry.

Here Richard Parr, our Chief Operations Officer, shares the story of the construction of the Merston site.

“With a fast growing business we found ourselves in 2010 in desperate need for a new salad packing facility and new administrative office space and were delighted when we got the go-ahead to build our Merston facility.

We wanted a facility that would be fit for purpose for many years to come and somewhere our teams would feel proud of. 

We wanted a facility that would be fit for purpose for many years to come and somewhere our teams would feel proud of. What was clear from the outset was that to get the longevity we wanted embracing the latest technologies and innovations would be key

Richard Parr Chief Operations Officer

What was clear from the outset was that to get the longevity we wanted embracing the latest technologies and innovations would be key down to the very last detail.

And that brings me to the roof. We knew that we wanted a roof that would look great but also blend into the natural surroundings, so as to minimise the visual impact. We were under business pressure to have the building up and running as soon as practicable so speed of installation was a factor and of course it was critical to have a roof that wouldn’t corrode or leak.

After doing extensive research we found a company, Kalzip, which engineered metal roofing solutions that were visually stunning but also full of technological innovations. As the first food company in this country to use this type of roof design we had to be really confident this was the right solution. But the positives spoke for themselves:

  • Quick to build and could be built into any shape
  • Creative design that maximised internal space but reduced visual impact and building materials
  • Fast to install allowing us to start the internal fit out earlier than with a traditional roof
  • Each sheet was manufactured on site so there was no need for lap joints that might have leaked
  • Aluminium outer skin that reduces the amount of heat transfer leading to improved heat reflection in summer which helps reduce thermal loading on the refrigerated internal production space
  • Lighter roofing system, which reduces the portal frame sizes leading to less steel and lower manufacturing and installation costs
  • The aluminium outer sheet is entirely recyclable at the end of the building’s life

The same roofing technology has now been used on landmark buildings such as the Qizhong International Tennis Centre in Shanghai and the RAF Museum Cosford, Shropshire.

I get a real sense of satisfaction that our roof was the most innovative solution available at the time of the build. It’s this drive to always be the best that helps our business grow.”

Richard Parr Chief Operations Officer