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BRC accreditation provides retail therapy for North East packaging specialist
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BRC accreditation provides retail therapy for North East packaging specialist

BRC accreditation provides retail therapy for North East packaging specialist

Helping food companies meet their green targets is proving the catalyst behind a North East manufacturer’s major expansion. Re Pet, which employs 20 people at its Houghton-le-Spring factory, is experiencing 40% year-on-year growth after demand for its food grade PET film rocketed.
BRC accreditation provides retail therapy for North East packaging specialist

The company currently offers full recyclable plastic sheeting for the packaging sector, which is usually used in the manufacture of food cartons for supermarkets across the world.

Backed by strategic support from the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), the firm has been able to adapt its systems so that it meets the standards set by the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Securing this accreditation has opened new doors for Re Pet and boosted annual sales to the £5m mark…just two years after the business was officially launched.

John Forrest, Managing Director, explained:

“The company name is derived from the PET material we produce and this material is a lot easier to recycle than other types of plastics used by many retailers today.

“However, sentiment is changing and there is a need for supermarkets to hit new sustainable targets and they are beginning to put pressure on the packaging companies that supply them. This is a major opportunity for us.”

He continued: “Currently the UK imports two-thirds of the PET material used and we intend to change that by offering great products competitively.

“We are also continually launching new products, including non-metalised coloured sheet and ongoing industry trials for non-metalised gold.”

Investment is a big part of the Re Pet approach and the company has already spent £2.7m on new extrusion equipment and a dedicated training programme for all staff.

Future plans include a further £2.4m acquisition of state-of-the-art machinery and the recruitment of a senior manufacturing manager as part of its commitment to upskill all of its staff.

The other thing it has done well is tap into expert support from the Manufacturing Advisory Service.

From the moment John started the business in 2011, he has been supported by Advisor Alan Hewett to overcome initial start-up issues, implement efficiency improvements and, more recently, in working towards the BRC accreditation.

“MAS has been a tremendous source of information, signposting, mentoring and in helping deliver bottom line benefits to the business.

“The British Retail Consortium standard is essential for our business. We needed help in fine-tuning some of our systems, in order to meet the exacting standards expected.

“This would have taken a lot longer without his input and the funding we received in bringing in a specialist to oversee the process.”

MAS’ Alan Hewett went on to add: “Starting a business and growing it to £5m in two years is no small feat and John and the team have a clear focus of where they are looking to go.

“From the outset, the firm wanted to do things differently and continues to invest in the best equipment for producing the PET material. The accreditation could have been a big stumbling block, but instead it will be the catalyst for even greater success going forward.”

Re Pet’s main turnover is currently focused around the domestic market, with a small amount going to Iceland.

Future plans will involve a greater export push and the targeting of customers in Africa, Australia, the EU and South America.

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