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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