Noble Foods’ largest contracted producer has decided to go it alone, investing about £1m in a new packing centre and launching its own branded egg.
The decision by Lincolnshire-based L J Fairburn and Son follows a 30-year plus association with the country’s largest packer, initially supplying Deans Farms before it became Noble.
“We have grown steadily over the years,” said brand director Sarah Louise Fairburn. “All the money the family has made has been put back into the business, looking to grow it for the next generation.
“But we’ve now got to a size when we no longer consider ourselves to be the perfect fit with Noble. We already rear all our own pullets and produce our own feed. Marketing our own eggs was the one bit that was missing.”
The company, which now produces over 8m eggs a week from organic, woodland, free range, barn and colony systems, also wanted to be more in control of its own destiny with regards price, she added.
Fairburn’s has recently opened a new packing centre at Burgh-le-Marsh, Lincolnshire, supplementing its two-year-old in-line unit for 600,000 birds at Alford. The new centre is specifically for “alternative” egg production and includes a state-of-the-art Moba grader handling 330 cases an hour and is equipped with Ovotrack traceability systems.
The company has launched two new brands, Chucky Eggs and Lincolnshire Free Range eggs, the latter of which will go on sale in Asda stores in June. It has also taken on its first contract egg producers.