Bakery aims for top spot

2009-12-10 00:00

ALBANY Bakeries is in the midst of a major R200 million expansion project at its Willowton premises, a move that signals a strong commitment to the Pietermaritzburg economy.

Albany is part of the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) company Tiger Brands, which is a JSE-listed group.

The plant is expected to be operational before mid-2010.

Dave Cousins of Tiger Brands told The Witness that in the short term the move will enable the company to focus on bringing other KZN facilities in line with the “benchmark status” of the new Pietermaritzburg facility.

“The KwaZulu-Natal consumer market and in particular the rapid pace of urbanisation that is taking place in the Durban-Pinetown-Pietermaritzburg economic zone has driven the need to expand Albany’s capabilities to serve the market demand for our primary bread business in the region.

“Consumers in the region have really supported our superior premium-quality loaves and demand has steadily grown in the region.”

Cousins added that Pietermaritzburg was selected as a result of the “valuable real estate” in Willowton, which is part of their industrial node.

The Willowton area also boasts easy access to the N3, the CBD and suburban markets.

The facility forms an integral part of the company’s growth plans in respect of the Albany brand in KZN.

Cousins said the facility will boast global process technology to bake exceptional bread products constantly and efficiently, while also providing ample capacity for growth.

“The technology that we are utilising in the new plant in Pietermaritzburg will make the new bakery not only the benchmark in South Africa, but it will also have some features that will certainly make it a global leader in best practice. This process innovation is, however, confidential.”

The new bakery will also be an integral part of Albany’s environmental sustainability efforts, said Cousins.

“Our commitment started with small efforts like converting our bread bags to biodegradable plastic to negate their impact on the waste cycle. When planning the new building and plant we have focused on energy efficiency in the process as well as the environment with the use of natural light and airflow.”

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