Award winning British water and soft drinks manufacturer Radnor Hills has had a busy 12 months.
The company, which is based in the old county of Radnorshire in Mid Wales and celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, seized on the pandemic as a chance to innovate and launch over 40 new products.
It produced a record 350 million units of products, saw turnover grow by 30 percent and, during the peak of the pandemic, secured four new listings with national retailers.
Innovations during Covid-19 included launching a series of new products in various eco-friendly packaging options and creating the UK’s first vitamin D flavoured spring water in Tetra Pak®, to help increase daily intake of this vital vitamin, which they have been trialling with a Welsh care home.
The company, which creates spring and flavoured waters, functional and infused waters, school compliant drinks, premium sparkling pressés, fruit juices and own label brands, also pivoted and opened its first direct to consumer shop via Amazon and its own online shop so customers could carry on receiving their supply of soft drinks during lockdown.
The company, which is already a ‘zero to landfill’ manufacturing site, is working on a new 10-year environmental strategy to build on the work which led to them being presented with the Made in Wales Awards ‘Sustainable and Ethical Manufacturer Award’ in 2019.
Last year, they made a large investment into their production line to double capacity and installed a new pasteurizer and cooling tower to reduce their water usage.
They installed new smart conveyors which save energy and a robot to help with palletisation. A new packing machine allows them to pack products in multiple formats for whatever their customers require.
In an industry first, they use a 30 percent recycled plastic shrink wrap to protect their products.
Founder and Managing Director William Watkins, 55, a fifth-generation farmer who diversified and established Radnor Hills in 1991, said: “Covid taught us that online retail is the future. Our Tetra Pak sales rocketed during the pandemic.
“Innovation is at the heart of our business. We know how important it is for our whole industry to offer sustainable packaging and we’re proud of the options we give to our consumers.
‘We’re the only production site in Wales to have the capability of bottling in glass, recycled plastic, aluminium can and Tetra Pak all on one site.
“It’s very unusual to have rural and high tech next to each other, but we have invested in cutting edge, fast and technical machinery and robotics that can produce 400 million products across our portfolio.
“We are working with our stakeholders to create a cleaner, greener future. And we recycle everything, even ensuring our waste water is cleaned and in a pristine condition before we send it to the river.
“Over the last thirty years, we have created a business that not only champions the beauty of our county, but which creates a career structure and a future for the people who work here.”