Our decision to work with XPO Logistics was based on their strong track record with Birds Eye — we have a relationship dating back 40 years for pea processing and storage. XPO Logistics was able to take ownership of the plant and meet our specifications on day one of the operation.
Birds Eye is an iconic brand in the UK, with a frozen food offering that includes a range of quality vegetables and a large market share for peas. In 2007, Birds Eye made a strategic decision to outsource its pea processing operations. The company sought a supplier with the expertise to manage the processing of perishable foods on a significant scale with strict reliability. The pick-to-freeze window of just 150 minutes is a unique challenge of Birds Eye peas, necessitated by the company’s ‘on the pack’ promise to customers.
In its winning proposal to Birds Eye, XPO Logistics committed to invest £10 million in a new, £50 million plant in Hull. XPO co-managed the entire project, which took place between pea-growing seasons and was completed in early 2008. This facility is now Europe’s largest refrigeration plant. Under XPO management, the plant cleans, blanches and freezes one ton of peas per minute using cutting-edge equipment that includes integrated blancher-coolers and freezing tunnels.
Birds Eye’s flagship processing plant has the capacity to pod, wash, cook and freeze 61,000 tonnes of peas during the harvest from June to August. True to the company’s promise, the peas are picked and frozen within 150 minutes. In addition, XPO has created a tailored process that reduces water usage by utilising water multiple times. First, the water is used to cool the peas post-blanching, then in two cleaning stages, before being filtered pre-discharge. This eco-friendly solution is in full regulatory compliance.