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Allied Frozen Foods - Devonshire Ice Cream Company.

At Ivybridge near Plymouth one finds the factory of Allied Frozen Foods. Part of Associated British Foods, they specialize in co-packing ice creams for several leading manufacturers and supermarkets. In addition, Allied also has three other ice cream factories in the UK - bulk packs being produced at Ashford in Kent and Calne in Wiltshire, with a further single specialty production line at Bude.

Allied Frozen Foods' total company turnover is now in excess of |pounds~50m. with exports representing about 10 percent of this figure and approximately |pounds~38m. being accounted for by private label business. The Ivybridge factory carries out primarily private label work as well as co-packing.

The nature of the factory enables Allied to respond quickly to customer requirements, manufacturing specialty products and developing ideas for the export market. Some of their recent new product developments include real chocolate ice cream bars and frozen desserts like Rhapsody, Clown Logs, Swirls, luxury ice creams and Cornish ice creams. Allied also manufacture frozen pizzas at their factory in Devizes, Wiltshire.

Considerable investment has been made at all their factories in order to achieve BS 5750 and ISO 9000 standards. For example, at Ashford a new dry goods store has been built as well as a new development department and the installation of updated milk and butter handling equipment. At Bude a new cold store has been installed, the factory itself has been extended and more refrigeration equipment has now been added.

At Ivybridge the mix area has been completely upgraded, the cold store capacity has been increased by a third, new semi automatic packing equipment has been installed and considerable further investment will take place in the next twelve months. Their Calne factory has been converted to an ice cream facility and was commissioned in April this year.

The Ivybridge factory was originally built in 1983 for use as an engineering company which manufactured ice cream-making equipment and, in fact, ice cream products were sold by them through Dairy Tops of Ashford. In 1984 the facility was sold to Dairy Tops, a second line was installed together with chocolate and ice cream manufacturing systems. A one and two litre facility was installed along with a new cold store in 1988. This cold store is capable of holding 330 pallets at a temperature -27 |degrees~ C.

At the Devonshire Ice Cream Company there is a facility for the storage of dried goods. There are two skimmed milk tanks and two 3-tonne chocolate conches which manufacture chocolate flavoured coatings for use on their choc ices. There are some six storage tanks which hold a variety of chocolate types, depending on customers' requirements.

The liquid skimmed milk is stored at a temperature of no more than 7 |degrees~ C and is passed through a heat exchanger to bring the milk temperature of approximately 65 |degrees~ C before it enters the mix tank. Vegetable fat is metered into the mix tank by using load cells, along with the remaining ingredients. The mix is then passed through an homogeniser operating at a pressure of 2500psi before entering the pasteuriser. The mix is pasteurised at 85 |degrees~ C for 15 seconds and then chilled to less than 7 |degrees~ C. Many items of APV equipment were seen in this area, along with a Taylor recorder for controlling the pasteurization system.

The ice cream mix is held in ageing vats that were supplied by Freeze Pack. From this point the mix passes to a Crepaco freezer which aerates the freezes the product down to -6 |degrees~ C before passing it through a vertical auger mixer prior to the extrusion heads. Extruded ice cream passes through a hardening tunnel before being cut to the appropriate length of bar and enrobed with chocolate that has been tempered through a Macintyre chocolate system. The coated chocolate bars are then hardened by passage through a plate hardening tunnel, wrapped on an Otem flow-wrapper before being packed into cartons using a Bradman Lake closer. A Linx printer has been installed on the line to add production details, best before dates, etc, and a Cintex metal detector is used to search for foreign metallic particles.

On the new Glacier line the ice cream is extruded then hot-wire cut to form bars that are hardened and enrobed before passing through a Loma metal detector. The products are then wrapped using an Otem flow-wrapping machine, packed into cartons before closing using a Bradman Lake Tri-liner. A Linx printer and a Cintex metal detector are also installed on this line.

The Mark tunnel line fills one and two litre board and plastics pots. The facilities on this line include a Flexi-fill unit, a Mark tunnel that surface hardens the products' temperature down from -6 |degrees~ to -10 |degrees~ C, plus further Cintex and Linx machines.

From the above it obvious this production system has to be flexible and at the same time needs to maintain very high quality standards. The microbiological regime at the Devon factory is seen to be very comprehensive. Considerable chemical and pathogenic testing takes place to ensure that the products match the high specifications demanded of them. Sales this year are increasing in line with their projections for the growth, which will make Allied Frozen Foods a major supplier of ice cream both in the UK and export markets.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Food Trade Review
Date:Jun 1, 1993
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