Businesses at the Park
The development of the Cross Hands Food Park enhances the County’s reputation by adding value to the ‘Garden of Wales’ and for those that buy its produce. Cross Hands Food Park offers everything that the modern food producer needs to flourish.
Supported by financial incentives and imaginative strategies at both local and national level Cross Hands Food Park, set up some 12 years ago, is strategically located near the A48/M4 at Junction 49, some twelve miles north of Swansea, and an hour’s drive west of Cardiff. It offers direct links with the UK motorway network via the M4 and the “Heads of the Valleys” A465 provides direct access to markets in the Midlands. The M4 is part of the arterial Euro-Route to and from Ireland, across the UK and into the continent. The dedicated Food Park is based on 50 acres, fully serviced with excellent infrastructure in place. It is well placed at the heart of a vibrant food producing county with numerous high quality suppliers based nearby thus reducing food miles for production.
The dedicated Food Park, incorporating land for development and food production Incubator units is the ideal base for all major food processing activities, is uncluttered and has full access roads in place. This is why key businesses have committed to growing their businesses here. Irish food giants Dawn Meats, despite other options and locations available across Europe, have twice expanded in the County. They now occupy a 200,000 square feet state of the art food processing facility on 20 acres of the 50 acre site which they built in 2002. Castell Howell Foods relocated their Head Office and distribution centre here in 2007 occupying 50k sq. ft. The incubator units have proved successful and have been fully occupied since completion in 2004. One of the 1st occupiers was Gower View Foods a food packing and dairy processing facility. The Company initially occupied a 5000 square feet unit – they have now expanded to 15,000 square feet. They are recognised as the largest independent butter packer in the UK, with the result that the workforce has increased to over 50 in the last few years.
The offer at Cross Hands is that of quality local indigenous and International Companies, Wales’ largest Independent Wholesaler and a local refrigerated transport service – all on the door step. There is also a feeling of belonging within the companies on the Food Park who regularly help and trade with each other.
Following a fire in 2002 on an adjacent site in Cross Hands the Company built a multi-million pound 200,000 square feet state of the art production and meat processing plant at Cross Hands Food Park. Dawn Meats Group was the 1st company to build on the Park.
Padraig McCarthy, Head of Group Development, has been impressed by Carmarthenshire and its people: “Proximity to Ireland and access to the UK motorways attracted us to Cross Hands. In ten years we went from 30 people to more than 600 – a credit to the adaptability and resilience of the local workforce. We’ve had major expansions twice and, after a devastating fire in 2002, we committed to the area again, despite other options and locations across Europe. The energy of the local agencies seriously impressed us – that and the workforce, were crucial.”
Organic growth over 20 years has seen one of Wales’ Jewels in the Crown blossom into a major player in the UK’s food industry. Castell Howell Foods chose to invest at Cross Hands Food Park and is now firmly bedded-in.
Sustained growth in the food service industry meant that Castell Howell Foods needed to invest in a new HQ and distribution centre. Supplying over 4,000 customers, employing over 280 staff and stocking over 8,000 products, the business has evolved with huge success from a Carmarthen farm based-business. Established in 1988 and celebrating over 20 years in business they moved off-farm to Carmarthen in 1990 and are now recognised as Wales’ leading independent food wholesaler.
Cross Hands Food Park was the obvious choice to establish its 50K sq.ft. Head Office and central distribution hub – servicing satellite depots in Wales and England on a 7 acre site at the park. In September 2007 they moved to the new facility which allowed them to immediately double their warehousing space and significantly improve operational logistics.
The development created a great opportunity to review all operations from an environmental point of view. BREEAM Assessors were appointed in order to reduce the environmental impact of the development. A 450 foot bore-hole to supply clean water to the site was installed to enable the extensive vehicle fleet to be spotlessly maintained and also used throughout the waste systems in the main buildings. Movement sensors have been introduced to ensure lighting systems are activated only when people need it and the supply from Scottish & Southern guarantee the source to be 100% renewable. In addition due to the requirement of high levels of packaging material required by the business which lead to a disposal problem they have set up a state of the art baling plant to avoid the need to send the waste to landfill sites. All of Castell Howell’s non-food waste is now recycled.
Brian Jones, Director, said ‘The relocation and expansion of the business at Cross Hands was very timely. There was not enough room to expand at our original premises in Carmarthen and the development of the Food Park was of enormous benefit with the infrastructure in place and links to the M4 corridor. The concept of the Food Park is great with the land available to help an expanding business and also the starter units to assist new food businesses. There is a noticeable feeling of everyone working together on the park, and the benefit is there for all to see’.
The business was formed in 2004 and took possession of Unit B at the Food Park – 1st tenants. Over the years Gower View Foods now occupy 4 units totalling 15,000 square feet they are now regarded as the largest independent butter packer in the UK.
The business was set up as food packing business – one of the 1st clients being Rachels Organics packing yoghurt sticks. This part of the business developed and several companies such as Hummdingers supplying Morrisons with a similar product were gained.
The initial aim of Gower View Foods was to pack butter – the 1st customer was Fayrefield Foods with Colliers Butter. Their client base now consists of Multi-national Companies; National and local dairy businesses.
They have also installed butter churning equipment and acquired the Shir Gar brand. They now churn for clients as well as the Shir Gar butter. This brand will be developed to include Cheese, Cream, Milk and yoghurt. Another side of the business is packing breakfast cereal pots with yoghurt & burcher muesli products.
They have continually invested in the business over the years and now employ over 50 staff.
Govindas was created in 2009. Producing a range of dairy free, nut free and gluten free products suitable for vegetarian and vegans alike. The company was the brainchild of Jodi Anderson in view of her diet with no meat products.
The Company is proving successful with good contracts with recognised UK chains in place.
The company occupies 2,500 square feet at the park.
The Company produces quality cakes, cooked meats, sandwich fillings, pies, pasties and savoury products for the food service industry and catering trade. The business relocated from a very small production unit in Carmarthen in 2006 and now occupies 10,000 square feet on the Food Park.
Mario Dallavalle is a third generation ice cream maker who combines his Italian heritage with the best ingredients to produce the finest Dairy Ice Cream. Mario sources his milk and double cream directly from family farms in the fertile, lush pastures of Carmarthenshire.
Mario’s Ice cream was established over twenty years ago and dedicates its success to a combination of passion and pride in ice cream making where the quality of the ingredients and traditional manufacturing techniques are paramount.
Mario is no stranger to national awards. He has won the prestigious awards at the National Ice Cream Alliance and Royal Welsh Show.
The company occupies 2,500 square feet at the park.
One of the largest temperature controlled distribution companies in the UK, N R Evans have seven operating centres located throughout the UK with their Head Office based in Cross Hands, at the Food Park.
Neil Evans MD and founder of the Company attributes the success of the business to working closely with and understanding clients requirements. Industry leading service levels, high specification equipment, skilled professional staff and to continually adapt to customer needs.