Got some­thing to cel­e­brate!

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Batchelors In Ashford -

most fa­mous of all Batch­e­lors prod­ucts, Cup a Soup, was in­tro­duced.

Mr Ell­more, 49, said: “We don’t em­ploy as many peo­ple as we used to be as there is a lot more au­toma­tion in the in­dus­try now than there was 60 years ago. Back then, there would be 800 to 1,000 peo­ple work­ing here.

“We need to con­stantly in­no­vate and de­velop our prod­ucts so they meet the chang­ing needs of the con­sumer.”

Three months ago, Batch­e­lors launched its lat­est prod­uct, Pasta ‘n’ Sauce, aimed at break­ing into the pot market.

Mr Ell­more, a for­mer char­tered ac­coun­tant, said: “Pot Noo­dle has owned the pot market – they are huge.

“Pasta and sauce has been around for years, but we have now launched it in a pot and it has been very suc­cess­ful – it is do­ing ex­tremely well.

“Peo­ple want things on the go and the pot pro­vides that.

“The market has changed and ev­ery­thing needs to be quick and easy.”

Mr Ell­more said the rise of dis­count re­tail­ers Aldi and Lidl in re­cent years has had an im­pact on the fac­tory. He said: “The growth of those su­per­mar­kets has made a big change. We have had to make sure we are as ef­fi­cient as we can be. The whole process has got to run smoothly in the fac­tory and we have got to limit waste as there are very small mar­gins with the dis­coun­ters be­cause the prod­ucts are sold cheaply.”

Last year, Batch­e­lors be­gan pro­duc­ing the new Paul Hol­ly­wood cake and bread mixes. It also makes McDougalls cake mixes and Saxa salt and pep­per pots.

Mr Ell­more said: “Next month will be our busiest time of the year as we have to make a lot of stuff­ing for Christ­mas.

“A lot of peo­ple only have stuff­ing once a year, so it makes us very busy – Novem­ber is our busiest month.”

Mr Ell­more says Batch­e­lors has a good re­la­tion­ship with Ash­ford MP Damian Green, and thinks the re­cent widen­ing at Ken­ning­ton Road will help de­liv­ery drivers get to their base. He said: “There is a lot of in­vest­ment in Ash­ford and it is a good place to be.

“Most peo­ple in the town know some­body who has worked at Batch­e­lors.

“It is great to be able to cel­e­brate the an­niver­sary and it gives us a chance to re­flect on our 60 years here.”

Mr Ell­more is keen to hear from any re­tired Batch­e­lors work­ers as he is or­gan­is­ing a Christ­mas lunch for re­tirees to mark the 60th an­niver­sary. Call 01233 644111 for de­tails.

Clock­wise from above, qual­ity con­trol in the kitchen in the 1960s; an early box-tap­ing sys­tem – han­d­op­er­ated with no ma­chin­ery; weigh­ing out spices ready for adding to in­gre­di­ents

Batch­e­lors fa­mous brand Cup a Soup was launched in 1973

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