Dairy Dialog podcast: Plastic tax and ice cream expansion

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

A look at the potential for a plastic tax in the UK, and the growth of an ice cream companyin Northern Ireland. Pic: ©Getty Images/sergeyryzhov
A look at the potential for a plastic tax in the UK, and the growth of an ice cream companyin Northern Ireland. Pic: ©Getty Images/sergeyryzhov

Related tags Plastic Ice cream

This week’s Dairy Dialog podcast explores the recently-announced potential for tax on plastics in the UK, with an in-depth and far-reaching interview with PFF Packaging Group’s Kenton Robbins, and the expansion of Morelli’s, a fast-growing ice-cream company in Northern Ireland.

PFF responds to new plastic packaging tax

The PFF Packaging Group has welcomed the decision by UK Chancellor Phillip Hammond to introduce a tax on the manufacture and import of single use plastics that contain less than 30% recycled material.

Speaking after this week’s Budget announcement, group managing director Kenton Robbins said it was a positive move towards increasing sustainability but urged retailers to also play their part by ensuring they’re confident their packaging suppliers can meet and exceed the criteria.

“We anticipated this happening quite some years ago and so implemented a number of measures to ensure that our products contained a high proportion of recycled content,”​ Robbins said. 

“Most of our food packaging products now contain up to 80%, sometimes 90%, rPET recyclate which of course in turn makes them fully recyclable.

“However, we firmly believe that over the next few years the major supermarkets and food retailers will play a significant role in transforming the economics of sustainable packaging so we urge them to check that their suppliers are capable of delivering at this level.”

The PFF Packaging Group, the UK’s largest independent producer of thermoformed plastic food packaging, has invested over the last 10 years in environmentally-friendly processes and materials to ensure products manufactured at its Keighley and Washington sites are 100% recyclable and have the smallest environmental footprint possible. 

Completion of £700K expansion to treble Morelli’s production capacity

Northern Ireland’s family-owned ice cream brand, Morelli’s, has completed the third and final phase of a major three-year investment program, with support from Ulster Bank.                                                               

The family-run business has invested £350,000 ($447,000) to expand its Coleraine base of operations, including expanding its production and storage facilities, adding an additional 3,300 sq. ft. to the now 10,000 sq. ft. factory, and modernizing its head offices.

The latest phase forms part of an overall £700,000 ($894,000) investment program, which launched in 2015. It follows upgrades to manufacturing equipment, the development of a large-capacity freezer store, and the refurbishment of its flagship parlor in Portrush.  The project was also supported with a capital grant from Invest NI.

Arnaldo Morelli, said the company was operating near to full capacity, producing 700,000 liters annually.

Arnaldo Morelli, managing director at Morelli’s and Rhonda McClelland, business development manager at Ulster Bank.

“The investment has enabled us to almost treble production capacity to 2m liters per year.”

The company is now looking to expand into new export markets.

“As well as our own family stores, we supply supermarkets and hundreds of independent retailers across Northern Ireland.  This investment will enable us to increase exports to the Republic of Ireland and explore new markets in Great Britain, safe in the knowledge that we have the capacity to fulfil growing consumer demand.”

Mintel reports that in 2017, the value of the retail ice cream market on the island of Ireland was €248m ($280m) and is projected to hit €296m ($335m) by 2022, something the warm summer in western Europe helped.

“We’re operating in an industry on the crest of a wave at the minute,”​ Morelli said. “Ice cream sales surged over the summer as we basked in sunshine.”

Rhonda McClelland, business development manager at Ulster Bank, said the Morelli brand is a shining example of Northern Ireland’s growing list of quality food and drink producers.

“We’re extremely proud to support the Morelli family as they expand their business and explore export opportunities to new market,”​ McClelland said.

The Morelli family has been making ice cream since 1911, and operate retail outlets across Northern Ireland as well as several franchised units.

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1 comment

Plastic Packaging tax.

Posted by peter bourke,

Taxes should apply to all packaging - not just plastic--------whether it includes a 30% recycled content or not!
Question - will the recycled plastic have to come from post consumer sources?because that's where our litter and waste problems start and finish - frankly, I don't want my milk or any food for that matter coming to me in recycled containers that having questionable poor quality dirty unhealthy recycling systems as the raw material - what a potential health disaster that creates.

Instead, lets get smart and do 3 things to start with: - 1. introduce training especially for our children at school to correctly recycle 2. establish simple cost effective ways of 'capturing' the plastic especially the flexible items, toothbrushes, lids etc and 3.

Most importantly, encourage/mandate that dirty post consumer plastics be recycled back in to NON food grade items ---industrial items like sea walls, sea and land bollards, Railway sleepers, fence posts, timber replacement items - the volumes for these products is huge!

Let's have a real crack at fixing this global problem

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