News article

Meet our Electric Freightway consortium members – Samworth Brothers

Samworth Brothers Electric Freightway

It may surprise many to know that the Food and Drink industry is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, adding £35 billion to the UK economy and accounting for nearly 20% of our total manufacturing turnover.

Logistics operators are looking to decarbonise this vital, diverse and complex supply chain, so we’re delighted that Samworth Brothers is one of the consortium members supporting our Electric Freightway programme.

Who is Samworth Brothers?

Probably one of the biggest and most important food production and logistics companies you’ve never heard of. If you’ve ever grabbed a quick sandwich from M&S, Tesco or LIDL, the chances are it was made by Samworth Brothers.

Samworth Brothers

This family-run business is based in Leicester, but its vast food-to-go empire covers 19 manufacturing sites across the UK, employs more than 12,500 people and has an annual turnover of £1.3bn. Its portfolio covers more than 300 different products, including staples from well known brands like Ginsters, West Cornwall Pasty Co. and Melton Mowbray pork pies.

Why choose Samworth Brothers?

Samworth Brothers is an entire food production ecosystem, so not only is the vehicle fleet vast, but its use cases are incredibly varied.

The company’s state-of-the-art Bradgate Bakery, for example, employs more than 1000 staff and operates 24/7 to create 50 million sandwich units each year. Similarly, its Kettleby Foods facility that produces a range of ready meals for major retailers, uses up to 400 tonnes of potatoes each week to make chips, potato gratin and mashed potato.

If Samworth Brothers is to make the switch to electric, it is clear that its electric Heavy Goods Vehicles (eHGVs) will need to be fit for purpose and have minimal downtime.

Critical to its objectives will be the performance of High Power eHGV charging. Over decades, Samworth Brothers has built its reputation with retailers on providing exceptional performance, including 95% on-time service levels and 99.8% pick accuracy.

How will Samworth Brothers be involved?

Samworth Brothers Supply Chain provides temperature-controlled distribution services to companies within the Samworth Brothers Group, as well as to many external chilled food manufacturers, retailers and other distributors.

It operates out of four main chilled distribution sites – Leicester, Penrith, Callington and Bristol – handling more than 24,000 pallets and picking 950,000 cases each week.

Transporting these time critical products currently requires a fleet of 123 diesel-powered tractor units and 270 trailers, some of which are equipped with carrier refrigeration units that, impressively, are already zero emissions. Instead of burning fossil fuels, the refrigeration units use regenerative energy captured by an electric motor on the truck’s rear axle to store it in a battery, which then powers the chilling system. Samworth Brothers has also taken delivery of its first solar powered refrigerated trailers this year from Thermoking and Sunswap.

The Electric Freightway programme will be key in helping Samworth Brothers develop a decarbonisation strategy that will be fit for the future. The company is highly motivated by both its staff and its customers to do the right thing and has committed to ordering a number of eHGVs, as well as install eHGV charging facilities at its key depots.

Samworth Brothers

Alistair Leckie, General Manager for transport at Samworth Brothers Supply Chain, said: “Electric HGVs and sustainable power generation fit very well with our philosophy and our ethos as a responsible business, so we’re proud to be involved in the Electric Freightway programme.”

According to Lumina Intelligence’s Food to Go Market Report, the food-to-go category is well positioned for further growth, but there are important long-term consumer trends that will impact provision, including a squeeze on household budgets and a resulting increase in value consciousness. While Samworth Brothers will not want to compromise on the quality of its products, the electrification of its vehicle fleet (and the predicted reduction in Total Cost of Ownership) could help provide efficiency gains elsewhere in the business.