Stewarts of Tayside is already one of the UK’s largest growers and packers of swede, and its new vegetable handling machinery will see a 25 per cent increase in the tonnage of swedes it is able to wash and package.
The new machinery, which has been funded by HSBC UK’s equipment finance team, will extract soil and stones to enhance the washing process before staff trim the vegetables by hand. It also has an automated weight grader, which improves accuracy when assigning swede sizes for different customer requirements.
The investment has helped the firm manage a 20 per cent increase in demand during the pandemic.
Managing director Liam Stewart said: “The new equipment has been critical to our success over the last 12 months. Not only has it enhanced our production grading capabilities and efficiencies, but it has also reduced our carbon footprint and helped to avoid waste, which has meant more swedes making it to supermarket shelves.”
The firm has been based at Tofthill Farm since it was incorporated in the 1980s, and today has a team of up to 900 people working on the farm during the peak summer season. Along with swede, Stewarts produces soft fruit, including strawberries and raspberries.
John Robertson, agriculture director at HSBC UK, added: “We’re proud to help safeguard the future of family firms like Stewarts of Tayside and assist in their ongoing expansion plans.”