CHORLEY, UNITED KINGDOM — GA Pet Food Partners has expanded its operations with an £80 million ($104 million USD) investment, creating a new state-of-the-art ingredient facility. The new facility, named the Ingredients Kitchen, can test, process and store ingredients and finished products used in the pet food industry.

According to GA, the investment in the Ingredients Kitchen was necessary to automate its system, which currently processes more than 700 ingredients and more than 800 formulas.

“We are thrilled to present this fantastic investment from GA, brought together by the ingenuity, desire and dedication of various skilled organizations from around the world,” said Roger Bracewell, chairman of GA.

AGV in GA Pet Food Partners' Ingredients KitchenThe Ingredients Kitchen uses AGVs to transport ingredients throughout its facility. (Source: GA Pet Food Partners)

The Ingredients Kitchen houses a bulk intake system, which processes more than 600 ingredients by more than 130 different suppliers; a “ballroom” where ingredients are thoroughly combined for manufacturing; a Pick and Mix system with a capacity of 120,000 tons annually; unique software that manages, monitors and controls every aspect of the facility; a pantry with a storage capacity of 5 million kg (11 million lbs); laboratories that perform about 1,166 ingredient tests weekly; a larder with a capacity of 9.8 million to 12 million kg (22 million to 26 million lbs) of finished pet food product; and two automated guided vehicles (AGVs) that carry ingredients and products around the facility.

“The Ingredients Kitchen has two separate functions designed and built to benefit every single one of our valued partners,” Bracewell said. “Firstly, it allows for the testing and quarantine of 367 dry raw ingredients that are stored and dosed separately into 1.5-ton batches. These are then ground and held ready for extrusion to avoid any potential delay. Secondly, the storage of the 758 different extruded kibble varieties in 15,000 individual boxes within the larder, containing approximately 600 kg (1,323 lbs) of complete product, so it can be tested prior to packing and then packed in one of the 7,000 different bags ready to meet the needs of our partners.”

GA’s Ingredients Kitchen can intake barley, wheat and rice, as well as other bulk ingredients and test them in its multiple laboratories to ensure quality and food safety. The laboratories also allow for full traceability and provide detailed risk assessments for every ingredient.

The facility’s Pick and Mix segment offers extreme dosing precision with the ability to accurately measure difficult-to-handle and even delicate ingredients, including frankincense, marigold, aniseed, cinnamon, papaya and dried insects. In performing ingredient dosing by hand, the Ingredients Kitchen can more accurately measure small and micro-ingredients, ensuring quality pet food formulas.

As well as the Ingredients Kitchen, GA’s investment also includes a new warehouse, which is completely automated using robots.

“The whole process allows us to track and trace every ingredient into each bag sold to the end consumer and to be able to guarantee it is safe, having monitored every step,” Bracewell added.

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