Newcastle company launches technology to help reduce levels of sugar and salt in food

6th May 2016

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David Lambert, MD Continuous Retorts and Ross Mendham, Dragon’s Den

CRL has built a new food factory in Gosforth to showcase its system that transforms the way food is processed.

A Newcastle firm has invested in a new factory to launch game-changing technology that could bring an end to the addition of high levels of sugar and salt to processed food.

Reece Group, which is headquartered at the historic Armstrong Works, acquired a major stake in Continuous Retorts Ltd (CRL) last year, an innovative designer and manufacturer of food processing equipment.

CRL has developed a ground-breaking system that means manufacturers can pasteurise or sterilise food in a much more controlled way compared to slow and costly technologies that date back to the 1950s.

The result is better tasting, more nutritious, leaner and greener food with no need for the extra sugar, salt and other chemical substances that are often added to processed food to achieve a so-called “authentic” flavour.

Now, following a major investment by Reece Group, CRL has built a new food factory in Gosforth, Newcastle , to showcase the equipment and offer food processing facilities to customers.

The firm has also teamed up with Dragon’s Den winner and Barenakedfoods founder Ross Mendham, to produce a range of healthy ready meals.

Mr Mendham – whose Dragon’s Den pitch won him a £60,000 investment from entrepreneur Peter Jones – has built a £1m turnover business from his dream of creating gluten-free and fat-free noodles, pasta and rice that are low in calories and carbs and could help people conscious of their weight.

He said: “I was looking to take the business on to the next level in an innovative way and when I heard about the CRL technology, it sounded a perfect match for us.

“People don’t always have the time to cook food from scratch and are also looking for a healthy alternative to sandwiches and so we wanted to be able to provide a range of healthy ready-meals.

“We are really buzzing to be working with CRL and helping to show the world that with the right technology it is possible to create processed food that is healthy and tasty that we would be happy to recommend be eaten every day of the week.”

CRL managing director David Lambert said: “Our new food factory will enable us to demonstrate to food manufacturers around the world how our disruptive retort technology can help them offer healthier food to their customers and thereby avoid the unnecessary publicity that has such a negative effect on our industry when disclosures like the ones recently made by Mars Foods come out.

“We are looking to help the giants of the food industry with superior processing technologies that can be used to bring to an end some of the unacceptable practices of the past that are now seen to be putting people’s health at risk.”

Reece Group CEO Phil Kite added: “We are delighted to be able to invest in CRL who are at the leading edge of innovation in the food processing sector.

“They have developed a heat treatment system for food that delivers real improvements in food quality and nutrition values compared to existing technologies.

“Working together we are confident we can develop the business into a major player in what is an exciting and growing market.

“The ethos of CRL is very much in line with that of the Reece Group and the business fits well within our strategy of creating a more diverse group of engineering businesses.”