The Fakenham area is in line for a massive employment boost with the opening of a new factory in the town producing chilled desserts.
A total of 200 jobs are to be created at the multi-million-pound venture in Holt Road, involving a partnership between supermarket giant Sainsbury’s and the Hain Daniels food and drink manufacturing group.
Production of the desserts will take place in an extension to the existing factory, which is being officially opened today.
The pilot phase of patisserie-style puds went into production during the summer.
The Mayor of Fakenham, Cllr Adrian Vertigan, said: “It’s amazing news. It’s great for the town to have more employment and the retail businesses in the centre will hopefully benefit as well.”
Keith Osborn, co-director of Fakenham Area Business Community (Fabcom), also hoped small businesses would receive a boost.
He said: “Assuming the 200 jobs go to people who live and shop locally, it will help Fabcom’s aim of ensuring the local economy works as well as it can.”
Sainsbury’s said the development was inspired by the growing demand for home-entertaining. The premium desserts produced would use British ingredients and have special finishing touches.
The proof would be in the pudding when the full range was in production at the factory.
So far, six had been customer-tested and gone on sale under the supermarket’s Taste the Difference logo.
They included mango and coconut panna cotta and passion fruit and Belgian chocolate torte.
In future, a total of 15 ready-to-serve treats were planned.
Sainsbury’s Group Commercial Director, Mike Coupe, said: “The official opening will be a great milestone for a number of reasons.
“Not only does Fakenham create world-inspiring desserts for our customers, it’s in line with our 2020 commitment to double our sales of British food.”
Rob Burnett, the chief executive of the Hain Daniels Group said: ““We’re thrilled to be formally opening our state-of-the-art facility in Fakenham today.”
The project was the culmination of a collaboration with Sainsbury’s to produce the highest quality British products in the cold dessert category.
Investment in the project highlighted the company’s long-term commitment and he said: “We are also proud to be a key employer in the region and a supporter of local initiatives in the community.”
Mr Burnett added: “We’re really excited about the future.”