Item Products’ carry handle solution creates cost savings for Britvic Soft Drinks

Item Products, Europe’s largest designer and producer of recycled plastic components for the packaging and point-of-sale industry, has recently supplied Britvic Soft Drinks with a carry handle solution for their Robinsons 1.75L twin bottle pack assigned to the wholesaler, Costco. Made from 100% recycled material, the handle is able to carry the twin bottle pack securely by the collar. Once at home with the consumer, the plastic handle can be simply added to the domestic waste recycling system. Adam Horvath, packaging development manager at Britvic plc, said: “Working closely with the packaging development and procurement teams here at Britvic, Item Products set out timetables for the design, models, tooling, testing and approval of samples through to full UK manufacturing. The end result ticked all Britvic’s ‘must have’ needs and was delivered on schedule and to specification first time.” “We are delighted to provide a solution for Britvic,” said Item Products’ Managing Director, Julian Cook. “Being able to facilitate their requirement for a UK manufactured carry handle solution has helped to significantly cut their lead times and reduce transport costs. The added benefit of producing the handle in a universal black colour enables Britvic to remove the need for specific masterbatch, allowing the device to be used across multiple brands.” Item Products designs and produces a unique range of components for the packaging industry, including carry handles for cartons, connecting clips for corrugated board, hooks, studs and rivets for merchandising units, wheels and stabilisers for big or heavy packs, garment rails for wardrobe boxes and stackable trays. Visit here to find out more.

Bespoke conveying system from Spiroflow and Cablevey delivers on its promise

Leading materials handling companies, Spiroflow and Cablevey Conveyors, operating as part of Automated Handling Solutions (AHS), have recently collaborated to provide Scottish oats producer, Oat Co., with a bespoke conveyor system. The solution has not only helped increase productivity, but has also allowed Oat Co. to minimise hazardous dusting, maintain product integrity and meet strict hygienic requirements for food handling. Oat Co. Scotland has specialised in growing oats for eight generations. Using a state-of-the-art oat mill and specialising in gluten-free operations, Oat Co. needed to replace their existing bucket elevator for rolled oats with a new conveyor system. To meet stringent food safety standards, the solution needed to be fully enclosed to ensure that the oat-based products were not contaminated with external foreign particles during the conveying process – it also needed to eliminate ‘dead areas’ where the product could accumulate and degrade. Furthermore, it had to be designed to fit their existing setup and integrate with their current oat mill. The bespoke solution consisted of a Cablevey tubular drag conveyor system and a Spiroflow low-loading bulk bag filler with an integrated holding hopper. The tubular drag conveyor system gently delivers the rolled oats to the filler in a totally-enclosed environment, minimising both degradation and dusting. Incorporating an inspection camera monitoring system and clear inspection ports to ensure proper maintenance, the hygienic conveyor can be quickly cleaned using the dry wiper disc system to wipe away accumulating fine particles. The bulk bag filler contains a special low-loading ramp and low-profile pallet base to enable the unloading of filled bulk bags by pallet truck when a forklift is not available. The filler also minimises dust with a reverse jet filter and accurately fills by weight with its low-level weighing platform to minimise overfilling and product giveaways. Commenting on the new system, Oat Co.’s Ray Marquardt said: “We selected the Cablevey conveyor because it offered gentle conveying of our product within a totally enclosed conveying solution, thereby eliminating any chance of contamination by an external foreign body. The conveyor offered a much more hygienic solution than a bucket elevator, with little or no dust being generated internally or externally. The system certainly delivers on its promise! “Overall, the design of the system ensured perfect integration with the rest of our existing purpose-built plant. The commissioning process was the best I have experienced in 20 years in the industry and ensured fault-free running from start-up.”

PepsiCo makes €127 million investment at Little Island facility

PepsiCo is nearing completion on a €127 million investment at its Little Island manufacturing facility, which will see the opening of additional manufacturing capacity and further investment in its R&D campus. PepsiCo currently employs more than 1,250 team members in Ireland. Over the last two years, its Cork-based workforce has increased by more than 20%, with 642 of the total Ireland associate population based in the Little Island, Cork campus (inclusive of employees in Manufacturing and R&D locations). The €127 million investment for the campus has provided employment to over 700 professionals across PepsiCo’s contracting and vendor partners during design and construction, and also facilitates the ever-growing headcount at the Little Island campus. With more than 40 open roles in Cork currently, the site continues to grow and expand, and this investment provides capability for further growth in the coming years. Using state-of-the-art manufacturing technology, PepsiCo’s Little Island operation supports its portfolio of global brands including Pepsi Max, Gatorade, 7Up, Mountain Dew and Doritos. The new facility will expand PepsiCo’s Little Island manufacturing capacity across its range of beverage ingredients, support increased demand for existing PepsiCo products and play a key role in bringing PepsiCo’s innovation pipeline to its global customer base. PepsiCo’s R&D campus in Little Island provides regional and global leadership in the areas of beverage development, product research, testing and commercialisation, quality assurance, regulatory management and, most recently, facilitated the establishment of a global R&D Digital Engineering team, which is leading significant and transformational digital initiatives for PepsiCo. Speaking at an event to mark the investment project, Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment said: “PepsiCo has had a presence in Ireland since 1974 and has grown its operations very significantly during that time. This latest significant investment reinforces the company’s recognition of Ireland as a great place to do business.” “We have called Cork home for almost 50 years, and our longevity is a testament to the dedication of our talented workforce. This very significant expansion will allow us to increase our manufacturing capacity and ensure that we can continue to meet the global demand for our existing and future products,” said Brian Colgan, Site Lead, PepsiCo Little Island. “This latest investment in our R&D campus delivers state of the art laboratories for several quality and research teams and a new contemporary digital solutions suite,” said Breda Kennedy, R&D Senior Director, PepsiCo. “Investment in our business has driven the growth of our R&D team, from just 10 people in 2007 to more than 130 today. This continued investment will further strengthen our ability to attract the best talent across digital, engineering, analytics, food science, sensory and microbiology.” Mary Buckley, Executive Director, IDA Ireland said: “Continued investment in research and development is central to IDA Ireland’s strategy ‘Driving Recovery and Sustainable Growth’. This investment by PepsiCo is very welcome and demonstrates the company’s ongoing commitment to Ireland as it continues to grow its Irish operations nearly 50 years since it first established a footprint in Cork.”

Administrators appointed to Tillery Valley Foods Limited

Tillery Valley Foods Limited, the producer and supplier of nutritionally balanced meals to the healthcare, education and local authority sectors, including to 30 NHS Trusts across England, has entered administration.

The company, founded in 1984 and based in Abertillery, South Wales, employs approximately 250 people. 

Over the past 12 months, the company has experienced significant inflation across its fixed cost base, driven principally by increases in food and energy prices, which in turn has had a detrimental impact on cashflow.

Consequently, the directors worked with their advisors and key stakeholders to find a solution, including marketing the business for sale and agreeing increased prices with customers, but unfortunately, no solvent solution could be found.

Tim Bateson and Will Wright from Interpath Advisory were appointed joint administrators to Tillery Valley Foods Limited on 17 May 2023.

Following their appointment, operations at the company’s base in Abertillery ceased and the majority of the company’s workforce have been made redundant. The administrators have retained 24 employees to assist them as they undertake an orderly wind-down of the business.

Tim Bateson, director at Interpath Advisory and joint administrator, said: “This is a tremendously sad day for the company’s dedicated employees, a number of whom have worked for the company for over three decades, as well as for the wider community in Abertillery.

“Our immediate priority will be to provide support to all those who have been made redundant, including supporting them with the information required to submit claims to the Redundancy Payments Office, and we are also aiming to host workshops in conjunction with local employment agencies and employers.”

Tim Bateson continued: “Over the past few months, the directors have worked tirelessly to safeguard the future of the business, including undertaking a process to seek new investment and/or owners. They have also been in regular dialogue with key stakeholders, including local MPs, Welsh Government and NHS England, keeping all informed.”

PPMA BEST: helping the next generation of engineers

Premier Labellers have taken on a new apprentice with the help of funding from PPMA BEST. Companies can apply to PPMA BEST on behalf of their apprentices in order to access financial support, a process that even more manufacturing organisations are turning to in order to help their new apprentices. Tracie White, PPMA Director and Chief Executive Officer of Premier Labellers, said: “As a business, apprenticeships are key to fitting in with our ethos of developing people. They can gain practical experience in a real role with genuine responsibility, learning from inspiring industry experts, and gain true life skills that will stay with them forever. “Luke has passion, which is one of the most important qualities that I look for in an employee. Having the enthusiasm to continue to learn throughout the training is a recipe for success in any industry.” Luke Mealing, a Harwich local, will receive on-the-job training along with study time and a full-time salary to help him to achieve industry recognised qualifications. He will complete his apprenticeship programme and be totally debt free. Even before starting at Premier Labellers Luke always had an interest in fixing things and working with his hands. Luke said: “I have always enjoyed the idea of taking things apart and finding out how they work or trying to fix stuff, something I learnt from my dad who has been an engineer for over 30 years. “From a young age I had fixed a broken radio and VHS deck, and seeing something you have spent many hours on fixing finally coming back to life gave me a feeling of excitement like no other.” Premier Labellers have been PPMA members for over 20 years and were able to assist Luke in applying for the apprenticeship grant. Luke added: “I’d also like to say thank you to PPMA BEST for the grant as I have been able to buy some very nice tools that will help me in my job.” To find out more visit PPMA BEST To find out more about Premier Labellers visit

London Packaging Week opens for registrations

London Packaging Week, renowned as one of the premier exhibitions for sustainable and stylish packaging solutions worldwide, has opened for registrations with its organisers declaring “packaging matters more than ever.” Leading multi-format event organiser Easyfairs is anticipating huge demand, with hundreds of the world’s biggest suppliers and thousands of designers, packaging developers, marketers, founders and buyers relying on the event to drive their innovation and creativity. As a result, Easyfairs is encouraging interested businesses to move now and secure their place at London’s vibrant home for packaging innovation and design. Renan Joel, Managing Director of the Packaging Division at Easyfairs, said: “Packaging, particularly luxury packaging, needs to be experienced, and London Packaging Week will, no doubt, be awash with luxury brand architects dedicated to studying what drives the success of prestige brands.” With over 170 exhibitors expected to pack the ExCel in London on 21 & 22 September and over 5,000 visitors, and 2,000 brands anticipated, top brands in beauty, luxury, drinks and FMCG will be guided through the entire immersive process. LPW goes beyond the traditional exhibition format with bespoke workshops, seminars, and awards that enable attendees to explore the latest packaging developments and learn from industry experts. From material research to manufacturing and finishing processes, the two-day, four-sector showpiece event is fine-tuned to help luxury brand owners leverage the potential that materials have on the perceived value of packaging and, therefore, the brand. “London Packaging Week connects the world’s top beauty, drinks, luxury and FMCG groups with the packaging suppliers, materials and inspiration that will define the future of their brands,” added Joel. “The four events offer brand teams an unrivalled and focused forum to source the latest packaging solutions, meet new suppliers and solve their biggest innovation challenges. “LPW continues to identify the major forces and emerging trends that will reshape the sector over the next decade, mobilising stakeholders with the ideas and agency to facilitate luxury’s ongoing transition toward sophisticated packaging that prioritises environmental commitments while adhering to aesthetic expectations. “With the right approach, materials, design and packaging partner, it’s possible to create luxury packaging solutions that meet consumer desires, are environmentally responsible, and make supply chains and shipping more economical – and the right place to both showcase and discover these innovations is at London Packaging Week.” To register your interest in attending London Packaging Week click here or to find your perfect stand package, click here.

Kite Packaging launches m spec mailers

The leading online UK packaging supplier has launched an expandable m spec mailer ideal for shipping various small goods. The corrugated mailer can be used as a flat letterbox-friendly envelope or it can be converted into a small parcel box depending on the goods packaged inside. An adhesive peel-&-seal strip makes for quick, easy and secure seals, while pre-creased grooves allow users to easily pop the envelopes out into a box, improving pick and pack efficiency for greater order fulfilment and cost savings. Manufactured with strong corrugation, these mailers provide crush resistance and compression strength when they come into contact with other boxes or heavy items, ensuring goods are well protected during shipping. They are ideal for pick and pack operations, distribution and ecommerce, and companies with a large product profile, especially those selling many small items, such as books, electronics, wallets and textiles. M spec mailers are more cost-effective than boxes and are letterbox-friendly, offering savings on postage costs. They require minimal storage and are a great solution for ecommerce businesses with limited storage space. M spec mailers are eco-friendly thanks to being 100% recyclable and biodegradable. To learn more about the products and services available at Kite Packaging, please visit

IW Capital invests in premium cold-pressed juice company, Daily Dose

IW Capital, an investment house, has invested in the premium cold-pressed juice and functional drinks business, Daily Dose. IW Capital has invested £5 million for the growth and further development of the company. Daily Dose is the UK’s fastest-growing cold-pressed juice and functional drinks business with sustainability at its core. With a farm-to-fridge ethos, Daily Dose partners directly with British farmers taking waste produce that would otherwise be thrown away and turning it into high-quality cold pressed juice sold under its own brand ‘Daily Dose’ and through private label contracts with high-profile retailers. All production is at the company’s own site in Cambridgeshire, where it utilises high-pressure processing to increase the shelf life of the cold-pressed juice whilst maintaining taste and nutritional value. Since launching in 2016, the company has grown its revenue to nearly £5 million and has been EBITDA positive for the last two years. The investment from IW Capital will help in expanding production facilities and supporting the procurement of required machinery to increase capacity and drive efficiency improvements. Luke Davis, CEO of IW Capital, said: “At IW Capital, we are drawn towards entrepreneurs who are disrupting their industries, and Daily Dose is a prime example of this. The company is sustainable and forward-thinking, and we are excited to be backing Daily Dose as they continue to grow and expand their facilities.” George Hughes-Davies, founder and director of Daily Dose, said: “From the business’s early days in my parents’ house in 2016, to now our own site in Cambridgeshire, Daily Dose has grown significantly; we play an important role in produce sustainability. We would like to thank IW Capital for its support as Daily Dose continues to grow.”

Berkmann Wine Cellars secures renowned South African agency Lothian Vineyard

UK wine distributor Berkmann Wine Cellars has grown its extensive premium portfolio with the addition of South African wine brand Lothian Vineyard. The Lothian Vineyard estate is owned by Gavin and Ewen Wilson, who hail from three generations of renowned Cape winemakers, having grown up on their grandmother’s Rust-en-Vrede vineyard in the 1950s and 60s. Originally from Scotland, the brothers showcase a dedication to excellence and heritage. These are values that are reflected in their authentic and traditionalist approach to Burgundian-influenced winemaking and their choice of winemaker, Richard Kershaw, a world-renowned Master of Wine. Lothian Vineyard’s unique location on the banks of the Palmiet River is perfect for growing grapes to produce elegant Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The complex soils of the vineyard provide a diverse palette of flavours for the winemaker to play with, resulting in similarly complex wines – delicate fruit and elegant structure are lifted by intense aromas to give a versatile yet refreshing, food-friendly style. Alex Hunt MW, purchasing director of Berkmann Wine Cellars, added: “Lothian Vineyard represents a new high-water mark for South African wine within the BWC portfolio. This pair of delicious, complex, food-friendly wines are some of the country’s very best – as witness their recent IWC success – but against the backdrop of spiralling burgundy prices, they manage still to offer exceptional value. Richard Kershaw MW is a great talent and we are thrilled to be working with him once again.”

Pernod Ricard invests in ecoSPIRITS

Pernod Ricard’s venture capital fund, Convivialité Ventures, has taken a minority share in ecoSPIRITS, a circular economy technology startup focusing on low carbon, low waste distribution systems for the premium wine and spirits industry.
Pernod Ricard joined a $10 million Series A funding of ecoSPIRITS, along with New York-based circular economy investment fund, Closed Loop Partners and leading Asian and global investors, including food sector private equity investor, Proterra Asia, Singapore-based growth stage investor Pavilion Capital, and ecoSPIRITS’ existing investor, Wavemaker Partners.
ecoSPIRITS’ closed-loop distribution system provides a powerful cost advantage and drastically reduces waste and carbon emissions by avoiding the production and transportation of glass bottles and other secondary packaging.
In March 2022 Pernod Ricard was one of the first global drinks companies to partner with ecoSPIRITS for the distribution of some of its premium brands in Hong Kong and Singapore. Absolut vodka, Beefeater gin, and Havana Club rum are transported in bulk and delivered to hospitality venues on a fully reusable 4.5-liter glass container, thus reducing waste and carbon emissions resulting from the production and transportation of bottles and other secondary packaging. The new funding will be used to strengthen ecoSPIRITS’ leadership position and accelerate its research and development program. It will help the company scale up its hardware, software and Internet-of-Things (IoT) research and development program, expand operations in key markets worldwide, including the United States, and grow its regional customer and engineering teams in Miami, London, Singapore and Shanghai. The investment comes as Pernod Ricard is in the process of expanding its partnership with ecoSPIRITS to markets outside of Asia.
Stéphane Longuet, co-founder and Managing Director of Convivialité Ventures, said: “We are very pleased to participate in this investment which will help develop a company offering such an innovative solution to our industry, by drastically reducing waste and carbon emissions. ecoSPIRITS’ approach is perfectly in line with our Group’s objectives to reduce its carbon emissions and we are looking forward to using it on a large scale around the world.”
Sui Ling Cheah, ecoSPIRITS executive board chairman, said: “We are thrilled with the successful close of our Series A round, which not only validates ecoSPIRITS’ impressive progress in building a comprehensive technology platform, but also marks a significant milestone in our journey to global scale. We are equally honoured to welcome leading investors to our journey such as Closed Loop Partners, Proterra Asia, Pavilion Capital and Convivialité Ventures. The future gets brighter when more resources are invested in circular economy innovation.”