Vegan milk maker plans to host ‘farmers’ markets’ at its Peterborough manufacturing base

Plant-based drinks manufacturer Oatly has vowed to work to boost Peterborough’s rural economy after opening its city factory.

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 5:02 am

The vegan milk maker says it plans to hold bi-weekly farmers’ markets and to open a visitor experience centre to showcase food technology at its multi-million manufacturing hub at Peterborough Gateway, which is expected to open in 2023.

The rural economy pledge is contained in a sustainability statement sent to Peterborough planners by the Sweden-headquartered company.

It states: “We want to play a part in creating a vibrant rural economy and will engage in a number of activities to achieve this.

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“These will include hosting a bi-weekly ‘farmers’ market’ on site to give local farmers an opportunity to showcase and sell their products to the employees.

“The catering provision on site will also stress the importance of the food served being based on both seasonal and local produce where possible.

“A visitors experience room will give visitors who have no knowledge of food manufacturing an opportunity to explore this as a sustainable career option.”

It adds: “Oatly’s mission is to ‘exist to make it easy for people to eat better and live healthier lives without recklessly taxing the planet’s resources in the process’.

Oatly has also outlined plans to develop links with the city’s new university, the ARU Peterborough.

The same document states: “The courses to be offered by the university will specifically boost the skills, training and employment prospects of local people in Peterborough and the surrounding areas, and will create local jobs.

“Once established, the Oatly site will look to develop their workforce by utilising the part-time degree courses being offered by the ARU as well as their Apprenticeship programmes.”

The company revealed two months ago that it had chosen Peterborough to be home to its first UK manufacturing and distribution centre in a move that is expected to create about 225 jobs.

It is currently seeking approval from Peterborough City Council for a change of use of an existing warehouse at Forli Strada, Alwalton Hill, to provide food and drink manufacturing and distribution hub with office space.

The proposal includes internal and external alterations to the existing building and the provision of a 33Kv substation compound, waste treatment plant area and storage silos.

Its sustainability strategy sets out ‘ambitious’ efficiency targets for energy, water, materials and waste.

The UK is Oatly’s second largest market and its sustainability strategy adds: “As a plant-based beverage manufacturer, sustainable food is core to Oatly’s mission and vision.

“By building the UK factory, Oatly will reduce the transport distance that their finished good travel to get to its UK customer base.”

If the plans are approved, the manufacuring facility will turn out 300 million litres of oat drinks and will have the capacity to increase its production to 450 million litres.

Oatly says its proposed Peterborough base will be one of the world’s largest plant-based dairy factories.