Friday, March 24, 2023

ichiban invests in Europe’s largest rice cooker

A UK producer of authentic Japanese sushi, ichiban, has invested in Europe’s largest rice cooker with the support of a seven-figure loan provided by Lloyds Bank.

Stowmarket-headquartered Ichiban has used the £1 million funding package to purchase a state-of-the-art commercial rice cooker that will enable the business to cook the rice needed for its sushi more quickly, efficiently, and sustainably. The new kit can cook 300 kilograms of rice every hour and produces perfectly cooked rice that further improves the quality of the product.

ichiban produces more than 500,000 packs of own label and branded sushi each week for its customer base which comprises many of the UK’s leading retailers and supermarkets, including Tesco, Boots and Aldi. The business typically cooks around 900 tonnes of rice every year and expects this to increase to over 1000 tonnes each year following the recent investment.

Founded in 2005, the business has gone from strength-to-strength in recent years and now has an annual turnover of £32 million. Lloyds has been actively supporting ichiban for over 7 years, led by Lloyds Bank’s relationship director Michael Adams.

ichiban, which means ‘number one’ in Japanese, employs more than 450 people at its site in Stowmarket. The firm’s manufacturing process, which only uses fish and seafood from approved sources, is completed entirely in Suffolk.

Andrew Wilkinson, Managing Director, ichiban, said: “We’ve enjoyed substantial growth in recent years as more and more people have discovered the appeal of eating sushi. But to maintain this trajectory, and increase our capacity for further expansion, we needed to invest in new larger scale and more efficient cooking equipment.

“The finance package we’ve received from Lloyds Bank has enabled us to do just that, and this investment will be transformational for our business.”

Matt Hubbard, Lloyds Banking Group’s East of England Ambassador, said: “We have some excellent food and agricultural businesses in Suffolk and ichiban is a great example of a successful local business that is expanding.

“I was delighted to see the new rice cooker being installed, and come back to see it now it’s up-and-running. ichiban has a strong reputation for quality and service that really resonates with its customers.

“We will remain by the side of ichiban in the future, as we will be by other Suffolk and UK based businesses that need our support.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our news site - please take a moment to read this important message:

As you know, our aim is to bring you, the reader, an editorially led news site and magazine but journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them.

With the Covid-19 pandemic having a major impact on our industry as a whole, the advertising revenues we normally receive, which helps us cover the cost of our journalists and this website, have been drastically affected.

As such we need your help. If you can support our news sites/magazines with either a small donation of even £1, or a subscription to our magazine, which costs just £31.50 per year, (inc p&P and mailed direct to your door) your generosity will help us weather the storm and continue in our quest to deliver quality journalism.

As a subscriber, you will have unlimited access to our web site and magazine. You'll also be offered VIP invitations to our events, preferential rates to all our awards and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Just click here to subscribe and in the meantime may I wish you the very best.

Latest news

Related news

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.