04 October 2021
Work to construct a brand new, cutting-edge oat processing plant in Northamptonshire has begun.
The plant will be the largest, most modern oat-processing facility in Europe. On completion in 2023, it will be poised to meet and accelerate the already growing demand for oat ingredients in the food and drink industry.
The development is the initiative of ‘Navara Oat Milling’, an exciting new joint venture between three organisations. All three bring to the party different - and complementary - fields of expertise, as well as longstanding relationships in their respective supply chains and markets.
Navara is jointly owned by Frontier Agriculture, a crop production and grain marketing company; Camgrain, a farmer-owned cooperative; and Anglia Maltings Holdings (AMH), a food and drink ingredient manufacturer.
The site of the new mill, alongside Camgrain’s Advanced Processing Centre in a key arable region between Corby and Kettering, ensures the minimising of food miles. Excellent transport links provide good access not only to oat growers but also to key food and drink manufacturers who use cereal-based ingredients.
Frontier Agriculture will supply all oats processed at the plant via growers in the surrounding region, Camgrain farmer members and its network of farm traders.
Mark Aitchison, Managing Director of Frontier and Chairman of the new joint venture said, “There’s increasing demand for oat ingredients in healthy food products and non-dairy drinks. The investment by the three strategic partners will help meet that demand. Our collective vision is to build and grow a dedicated oat supply chain, bringing farmer and food manufacturer closer together and delivering improvements that benefit each sector and the environment.
“We will work together on realising the huge potential of oats, embracing all that they can deliver in provenance, traceability and sustainability. Navara will create supply chain efficiency and the food and drink industries will benefit from the investments we’ll make not just in processing but also in growing oats. Collaboration with farmers supplying the new mill will see value added in areas such as agronomy advice, seed variety choice and development, quality and sustainability.”
Simon Willis, CEO of Camgrain added, “The new joint venture, Navara Oat Milling, will see the new plant built alongside our existing Camgrain Advanced Processing Centre in Northants. This is great news for our farmer members as it expands opportunities for them with an increasingly sought-after cereal grain and will involve them in projects such as the development of new varieties. It’s good to be bringing advanced technology to the UK food supply chain, adding value not just to farmers, but also to the local community. We are grateful to the North Northants Council for their support for this flagship project; which will bring forward new employment opportunities and reduce food miles.”
George Thompson, Group Finance Director of AMH said, “This ground-breaking partnership can bring focus on this highly valued cereal crop, and we’re delighted to be part of it. We already work with oats in EDME, the natural food ingredients arm of our business, and have long desired to do more with this exceptional cereal. Navara Oat Milling provides the perfect opportunity.
“By combining our experience, expertise and ambition with that of Camgrain and Frontier, we can explore the true potential of oats in terms of innovation for existing oat ingredients processors and exploring new market opportunities.“
The joint venture is launching at a time when the importance of nutritious, plant-based ingredients has become more widely recognised. Provenance and sustainability are part of that agenda, and domestically grown and processed oats are part of the answer. With its brand new, purpose built facility, Navara Oat Milling will be well positioned to support food and drinks manufacturers by providing consumers with healthy and nutritious choices.”
The site which is discreetly located and hidden by existing topography and vegetation will be further enhanced by the additional planting of 6,500 new trees and shrubs.
Full planning permission has been approved and significant preparatory work has already taken place.
UK construction and project manager experts T H White will be the main construction contractor for the project.
Construction of the plant will provide an additional 120 jobs; 60 during construction and 60 to operate the plant once complete.